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It's all double Dutch to me

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Ben Gallop Ben Gallop | 09:40 UK time, Monday, 12 June 2006

The Dutch have for a long time been one of the most popular teams at the World Cup - all that orange, Total Football tradition and terrace bonhomie seems to appeal to the neutral fan.

But this particular nation always poses a problem for any media organisation covering the football - what do you actually call the team?

As any student of European political history will know, the official title of the country is the Netherlands. The name "Holland", meanwhile, actually refers to only part of the country.

But this is where BBC Sport (and, it must be said, much of the British media) diverges from officialdom. We generally refer to the team as Holland.

Why is this, you would be more than entitled to ask?

Our reasoning is that the name of the country is the Netherlands, but the name of the football team is Holland. And while I appreciate that some readers may object to such a description, from the perspective of the UK-centric football fan (ie the audience we aim to serve) it is a more natural description.

One of the reasons we label them Holland is that this is what most of the Dutch fans themselves would appear to call the side they follow. As anyone who has seen their orange-clad supporters in action will know, one of their favourite songs is Hup Holland.

So those people who have contacted us to point out the correct name of the country is the Netherlands are, of course, right. But football is a different world to geo-politics - and while BBC News would only ever refer to the country with its official nomenclature, our view in BBC Sport is slightly more relaxed.

Apologies if this causes any offence. But football, as we know, has a set of rules all its own.

Hup Holland!

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