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Goal reached over political football

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Mihir Bose | 16:31 UK time, Friday, 29 May 2009

The drama we have witnessed, which is now very likely to result in a GB football team taking part in the London 2012 Olympics, has been a very British clash of fear versus ambition.

The ambition of the Football Association and the British Olympic Association to have an Olympic football team in the summer of 2012 has never been in doubt.

The problem has been the fear of the Celtic nations, particularly the Scots, that it will put in jeopardy the unique privileged status that Britain has - one political nation but four footballing identities - and this fear is not entirely baseless.

There are some in international football who feel these privileges, agreed after the Second World War, when the British home countries came back to world football's governing body Fifa, are outdated and ought to be scrapped. Indeed, when the Fifa statutes were being rewritten not long ago another privilege of having a British vice-president of Fifa on the international board, was nearly lost.

It may seem strange that football should agonise over this when in other sports such as hockey, curling, table tennis, boxing and badminton one home country representing Britain in the Olympics has long been accepted.

But in football it has taken four years to get the deal because of the deep suspicion of some of the home countries that despite all the reassurances the FA has given, backed by Sepp Blatter President of Fifa (who even sent the Prime Minister a letter of reassurance), in the end Britain's enemies in Fifa will use this as a weapon to destroy its special position.

The Olympic Rings

The whole issue has been further complicated by the rise of the nationalists to power in Scotland and their feeling that anything that dilutes Scotland's distinct status should be resisted. It is not surprising that news of the deal led to a member of the Scottish Parliament calling for the resignation of the Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith.

The deal still has some hoops to go through and requires approval by Fifa, the BOA and the International Olympic Committee and while these are administrative rather than fundamental the fact that the FA would not comment on the deal shows how sensitive the whole matter is felt to be.

However, the timing of the leak is of some significance. The Fifa congress meets in the Bahamas this weekend, the backyard of Jack Warner, the powerful vice-president from Trinidad. He has been the most vocal critic of having four British footballing nations.

The FA did not want to go to the congress without it being resolved.

Apart from demonstrating that like all host countries Britain too can take part in Olympic football it did not want the debate to drag on and cast a shadow over England's bid to host the 2018 tournament.

While the two are not directly connected this was a distraction that would do little to advance England's cause.

The congress comes just after the launch of the bid and the FA wants delegates to talk about what hosting a World Cup in Britain will mean to the world not about some old privileges that the British enjoy.


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  • 1. At 5:30pm on 29 May 2009, blueShidoshi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 6:07pm on 29 May 2009, hackerjack wrote:


    Just get the BOC to appoint a coach and have him invite whatever players he chooses. Leave it up to them whether to accept or not.

    If their national associations then try to impose any sanctions against the player then they will look even more like petty selfish fools than they do at present.

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  • 3. At 6:08pm on 29 May 2009, worststripineurope wrote:

    Just a stupid idea. If there had been a competition amongst the home nations as to who would represent the UK as Team GB, then maybe fair enough, but the EFA just announcing that they are going to enter a team regardless is taking the piss. The rest of the home nations have done the only thing they can given the pressure exerted, but I don't understand why the EFA are backing this at all. Is one utter sideshow of an international competition worth jeopardizing the individual status of the Home Nations (and don't beleive the hype it really would)?

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  • 4. At 6:15pm on 29 May 2009, blaidd_cymraeg wrote:


    what is the point of risking the loss of the Welsh national team for something which in football terms is worthless.

    Who remembers the past winners and who cares .

    Cymru am byth


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  • 5. At 6:21pm on 29 May 2009, NoGBfootball wrote:

    "Fear versus ambition." - I assume the 'ambition' is from England's perspective! So an under 23 year team without the main household names that is highly likely to be eliminated in an early round is ambition.

    I often admire the English trait of optimism, especially in football, the the football track record is not good. Failed world cup campaigns, narrow victories (Euro 96 penalty victories) no final appearances in my 40 year old lifetime etc. The list is extensive.

    Finally, use of TEAM GB for this football side MUST not be used. This is not a GB TEAM and all English reps at BOA and the English FA must respect this. The other associations are trying to find an agreeable position FOR ENGLAND, is it too much to see a little respect returned?

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  • 6. At 6:27pm on 29 May 2009, sportsnut59 wrote:

    1.Does anyone really care about the Olympic football tournament and whether or not GB aka England participate?


    2. Do the 'England' team really need a second international tournament in a summer when hopefully they will be participating in the European Championships?

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  • 7. At 6:31pm on 29 May 2009, 1Wattie wrote:

    The idea that you have regarding the proposed GB football team being compromised by the rise of the nationalists is well wide of the mark.
    If the people in power at the SFA/SPL were completely honest they would admit that the real fear is the cushy jobs they hold now. If tean GB goes ahead with the inclusion of all of the home nations there is a possibility that we might lose our separate identities, in footballing terms.This of course in turn would mean that we don`t need all of the "hangers on" and their jobs in effect would become redundant.
    If you care to look back your notes you will see that only a few months ago the FA themselves were having second thoughts about team GB because Englands own position could be threatened.
    Although I`m Scottish I think GB should have a football team representing us and couldn`t care if it was made up of all English players or Welsh,Irish or even Scots.

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  • 8. At 6:36pm on 29 May 2009, Mr George Banjo wrote:

    A good decision.

    Shame that the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish FA's were so petty.

    Good luck Team GB in 2012.

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  • 9. At 6:55pm on 29 May 2009, GrecianWebb wrote:

    I'm a passionate football fan, but the one thing I never watch is the football in the Olympics.

    I'd rather not participate if there was even 1% chance we could lose national identity and be forced to start partaking in World and Euro Cups as GB.

    I don't get the argument about there being a team GB for hockey, boxing what?? I think there is a Catalan team in one sport (handball possibly but can't recall) but that does not prove that Spain should be split up in all the other sports!

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  • 10. At 7:03pm on 29 May 2009, Gareth wrote:

    Is it just me, or is it very hard to believe that anyone outside of Scotland, Wales & N Ireland cares at all about this subject.

    Despite this often reported fear of the repurcussions of a team GB in the media, do we really think that FIFA members, whether thay be in Nassau, Buenos Aires or Madrid, will be discussing this subject over dinner tonight?

    Of course not. Just more cheap media fodder.

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  • 11. At 7:10pm on 29 May 2009, elgincityloon wrote:

    I am very proud of being a Scot, as I am sure the English, Welsh and Irish are of their nationality, so to me that is the reason for NOT having a Team GB. I feel very strong about my nationality. I have never been British, but always Scottish. Even on the BBC we here some newsreaders or sports correspondent spek of "another great victory for english sport" he was speaking of Andy Murray.
    So I say no to the GB team.

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  • 12. At 7:22pm on 29 May 2009, dodger9 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 13. At 7:30pm on 29 May 2009, DC ARAB wrote:

    I'm a Scot, proud of it too, but am also proud of being British. I can see no point in a team GB for the olympics as many of the British teams best players would not be available (under 23 or not) due to euro 2012. So many complaints about too much football for our best players and here we are trying to add yet more in what is an important year for hopefully at least one of the home nations.

    I also can't help but wonder what the ramifications would be, if we lost our individual national team status, upon the current league set ups. Are Rangers and Celtic secretly behind all this? (not having a dig at the OF, honest).

    I for one think it's unnecessary - if we MUST have a team GB let it be made up of our best amateur players (i.e. the Olympics of old) and leave the professionals out of the picture. Surely taking part in the Olympics would be a far greater achievement for the amateur players than for those who aspire to play in Euros and World Cups.

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  • 14. At 7:39pm on 29 May 2009, posh_bhoy wrote:

    Mihir - This article is garbage.

    Scottish Nationalism has nothing to do with not wanting to be part of Team GB, absolutely nothing. FIFA has never offered a consistent opinion on this. That they have given the FA or the PM re-assurances means nothing- they have changed their mind in the past and are likely to do so again.

    Of the English i would ask this - would you be comfortable if the home nations were eventually replaced with a GB team? Honestly?

    I find it hard to understand that English cannot even acknowledge the possibility of this happening. Instead they throw accusing glances at the Scots.

    And what is really at stake here? That Team GB cannot field an under 23 team in tournament that will mean very little in the football world? Will this tournament start in August? AT the start of the domestic football season, straight after the European Championships - who will want to play in it?

    No, i think the Celtic nations are quite right to stand their ground and have been very gracious in not blocking the idea, but allowing England to field the team.

    Mihir - you are the sports editor, not the politcial editor. Try writing about this from a football point of view, and you may well find the Scots are right.

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  • 15. At 7:42pm on 29 May 2009, Beegs wrote:

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  • 16. At 7:43pm on 29 May 2009, paulswt wrote:

    Are all the people so very affronted by the possibility of a Team GB in football also affronted by the existance of the British Lions, soon to play their first match in South Africa? Or is football so very different to rugby that the two can't be compared?

    It's a youth competition played on home soil, and while the players would I'm sure rather be at Euro 2012, let's be realistic and accept that it's not very likely. This could be the biggest achievement some of the players can manage away from their clubs and actually lay claim to having won something. But as long as there's a nationalistic politician desperate for 30 seconds of media attention and some incredibly weak officials at the FA, it won't happen.

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  • 17. At 7:52pm on 29 May 2009, L-M-R FC wrote:

    dodger9, I live in england and the amount of casual prejudism and snide comments scots put up with from the arrogant engerlish is enough to make any scot 'hate' the english to an extent.

    my dad got in a fight the other week in a pub because from a completely unrelated matter some arrogant englishman insulted my dad, which he ignored, and then my mum, which he didnt, using the word 'jock scum' among others.

    i only wish i'd been there to see dad wipe the smirk off his face, which he did.

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  • 18. At 7:52pm on 29 May 2009, Martin Butcher wrote:

    Just like others her, I can't see the point. Players will have had a long season. Then Euro 2012. The new league season will be about to start. Why on earth would we risk vulnerable young players to yet more exertion for a tournament no-one cares about. There may be an argument for allowing England 'C' to compete, if an England team is to be entered. But risk really talented youngsters from top teams. absolutely not.

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  • 19. At 8:03pm on 29 May 2009, uddingstonbluenose wrote:

    The players of NI, Wales and Scotland should put their names forward for selection and take their respective football association to court if they don't allow them.

    The 'No to GB' campaign is simply full of hypocrisy. The same people not wanting a team in the Olympics, in the land where football was invented are the same ones who will still be cheering on Chris Hoy, a Scot participating under the Union Flag - for example.

    I think the unification of the associations would be an excellent thing regardless. Who good would a British league be! As a Rangers fan it is maybe a bit selfish as such possibilities could lead to move involving Rangers as a part of a much bigger and better league in terms of revenue, television audience, etc...

    As an aside - why is there no opposition to this in other sports - say, rugby union?

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  • 20. At 8:06pm on 29 May 2009, onedragonontheshirt wrote:

    "What is the point of risking the loss of the Welsh national team for something which in football terms is worthless."

    I couldn't have put it better myself. All power to the Scots for resisting this piece of nonsense, let's hope the FAW get something right for once and maintain their stance until this non-story finally disappears down the toilet.

    I finish on another quote from this thread:

    "Mihir - This article is garbage."


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  • 21. At 8:07pm on 29 May 2009, onedragonontheshirt wrote:

    > Are all the people so very affronted by the possibility of a Team GB in football also affronted by the existance of the British Lions, soon to play their first match in South Africa? Or is football so very different to rugby that the two can't be compared?

    I couldn't care less about rugby. Does that help?

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  • 22. At 8:21pm on 29 May 2009, Tux789 wrote:

    There is a european championship on that year and I would rather be concentrating on Scotland getting to that than "Team GB" football. The players who can play in it must be all under 20 just now people should ask them what would you prefer euros or team Gb and all of them would want to be in the euros. Team GB is a farce and this issue is just an excuse for england to submit a team to try and win what is a u23 competition

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  • 23. At 8:22pm on 29 May 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    I think far too much time has been spent on this issue.

    1. I'd have just said: 'OK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland don't want to take part: fine, England will play instead.'
    2. We don't need to hear the Scots rubbishing the Olympic tournament as a justification: you made your decision on political grounds, fair enough.
    3. The only reason I can conceive that this has dragged on so long can be due to IOC politics. I'm sure Sepp Blatter couldn't give a stuff once it became clear that the Celtic nations wouldn't play ball - if the IOC were OK with solely England players competing, he'd just see that as the IOC's business.
    4. Can we move on from this - it's really not that important?

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  • 24. At 8:23pm on 29 May 2009, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    Yeah, yeah, blame Scottish nationalists - never mind that the Welsh and the Northern Irish were equally against the idea. [rolls eyes]

    Personally, I could see both sides of the argument, and don't blame those who didn't trust the word of FIFA on this. They couldn't give a consistent, definitive answer. Which speaks for itself.

    While I wish whichever team that plays all the best, I just don't think that taking part in a second-rate competition is worth jeopardising the status of the Home Nations over. And for all those mentioning the British Lions, that is a completely different situation!

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  • 25. At 8:23pm on 29 May 2009, posh_bhoy wrote:

    Rugby and football cannot be compared here. The "demand" for national teams in the two sports is on a different level. There are not national teams queuing up to play in the Rugby World Cup. There are, though, many regions and constituent countries making envious noises about the home nations.

    I lived in England for 8 years and they are just as xenophobic. So much so that i cannot really believe they would be comfortable with "England" being replaced with "Team GB".

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  • 26. At 8:28pm on 29 May 2009, Dimitri wrote:

    I can understand the argument from both sides as a non-Brit. On one side, it's great to see the Tartan army descend on tournaments (when they qualify), and the English fans are fantastic in their huge support at major tournaments. I can't help thinking that a team GB wouldn't have quite as enthusiastic support. My impression has always been that the Welsh, Northern Irish and Scots have always been proud of their respective heritages and have always put that above their "British" status. The English have always seen it as an extension of their history and a further affirmation of their glory days as the Empire on which the sun never set.

    As such, it's clear that being British as such is a rather artificial construct which doesn't easily lend itself in the emotionally invested world of football. What I don't accept as someone who is not a British citizen is that this should result in concessions being given to them because the federations in question can't make their mind up. There should be consistency. Either you represent Great Britain or you don't.

    This business of being British for one tournament and then English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish in another is a complete farce from my perspective. Can you imagine if Flemish and Walloon sides were playing international football instead of Belgium? Or Quebec having its own national side? Frankly I don't care which they choose, but squeezing yourself through intellectual gymnastics just so you can have your cake and eat it is in my view completely unacceptable.

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  • 27. At 8:38pm on 29 May 2009, SJ wrote:

    This Warner character has alredy been ridiculed by Roy Keane for some of his undiplomatic outbursts and he is not respected by the UK football associations. In turn due to the way voting is done for FIFA it is possible he could be president one day which would not benefit us. Best to avoid any chance and not participate in a tournament which no-one really cares about.

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  • 28. At 8:42pm on 29 May 2009, Bobbyman wrote:

    I'm disgusted with the home nations especially the Scottish FA. How pathetic and embarassing that they put up such a ruck to spoil this idea! I'm certain plenty of players (Bale, Evans, Fleck et al) would have been up for taking part, but for the stubborn, archaic thinking officials.

    I don't think Brown has done enough. He should have drummed up more support from Welsh, NI and Scottish players. The first time I've heard someone speak on the matter is today when Barry Robson sounded bemused at the whole furor. He questioned an English team being GB but I gathered no spite towards a GB team.

    An all english GB team is pointless and I hope something more can be done to get at least one other home nation involved.

    Still, I expect Celtic and Rangers will continue pestering to join the Premier League which would do far more damage to the Scotland team than a one-off Olympic appearance. In a similar pettiness, I hope the English FA give slam the door on the idea of the Old Fim in the Premiership.

    It's a sad day to be "British".

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  • 29. At 9:13pm on 29 May 2009, fife_rtid wrote:

    Unbelievable a man who knows nothing about Scotland decides that this issue is about politics and the rise of Scottish nationalism, is it any wonder we get frustrated and angry about the garbage that is written in good old England.

    This has nothing to do with Scottish politics there are many like me who have nothing to do with the SNP and do not want a separate Scotland and are perfectly happy with arrangements as they are just now.

    This is purely a football matter we have supported Scotland all our lives and are proud to do so and we dont want to see that end, how do you lot think you would feel if they decided to field A Euro team and it could spell the end of team England. You would be furious, there is nothing wrong with havong 4 home nation teams and I dont see why it should continue just to please the politicians, the same money grabbing,dishonest, lying politicians that we have in this country.

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  • 30. At 9:15pm on 29 May 2009, Bob wrote:

    First of all shame on you Scots, Welsh and Irish who oppose a GB Olympic team. It's not exactly in the Olympic spirit to oppose it.

    Secondly if the Scots,Welsh and Irish don't want a team GB in Football at the Olympics then why are they happy for people from their nations to compete in the Olympics for GB in other sports. Why are SNP members not campaigning for these people to withdraw?

    Thirdly, this idea that it's a threat to the independence of the home nations is utter rubbish, the Welsh are quite happy for Cardiff to play in the FA cup final, Rangers and Celtic are quite happy to persue a place in the English Premier League. Aren't these greater threats to their independence than a non FIFA affiliated under 21 Football tournament?

    As for this Warner fellow from CONCACAF, since when has CONCACAF been a particularly powerful Football union? Certainly not enough to force Football associations in another more powerful union to merge.

    The England brand is worth more to World Football than Trinidad and Tobago. There would not be much appetite in World Football to no longer have an England team. As for the home nations merging voluntarily or being put under pressure to merge; the associations, fans and players of all of the home nations simply wouldn't allow it even if FIFA tried to expel us for not merging, we have the resources to survive alone. FIFA would lose more without the home nations than the home nations would lose without FIFA.

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  • 31. At 9:15pm on 29 May 2009, king_pedro_71 wrote:

    I don't know why Scotland, Wales and N Ireland wouldn't want to play at the Olympics. After all, it's the only football they're going to play that summer!

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  • 32. At 9:46pm on 29 May 2009, 1Wattie wrote:

    dodger9 (12)
    If you had cared to listen to what your own FA were saying just after the turn of the year they were having niggling doubts about the sincerity of FIFA`s assurance that iy would not have any effect on the individual status of the 4 home nations. One of the fears was that if we became GB for all football related matters there would have to be a huge restructuring of the football leagues which in turn might mean less European places for future years. This may also lead to a drop in revinue from TV deals with their money being diverted to other European countries.
    You mention anyi English sentiment here in Scotland but I have never encountered it personally. I have many English friends and work mstes and although we all take the micky out of each other thats as far as it goes.
    If however you want to see true hatred of your nation try going to Ireland, France Germany Iraq India Pakistan, in fact almost any country in the world that has suffered at the hands of the so called British Empire. They, like most of the English nation, look upon the United Kingdom as England anyway.

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  • 33. At 9:49pm on 29 May 2009, posh_bhoy wrote:

    "There would not be much appetite in World Football to no longer have an England team."

    My God! What an arrogant comment. England: please stop playing up your importance in world football. England did not play at Euro '08 and it was a great tournament. England have not won a tournament for 43 years. FIFA, Football and the love of the game does not depend on England taking part!!!

    As a celtic fan, i don't want them to play in England, and would oppose it. Cardiff can play in England because the Welsh do not have a professional league.

    Football is a unique sport in that it has almost global appeal - therefore, all countries want to compete, which puts pressure for places at major events. Few other team sports can make that claim. This is why there is pressure on the home nations in football and not in other sports.

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  • 34. At 9:51pm on 29 May 2009, Globaltraveller wrote:

    As a proud Scot (and most definitely never a Brit), I can understand the feelings of the majority of Scottish football fans who are against this. But God works in mysterious ways. This will be a "fraudulent" and unwanted team. I will most certainly be supporting whoever their opponents have to be. And you know the funny thing? If this were a purely "Team England" I'd support them all the way.

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  • 35. At 9:57pm on 29 May 2009, falkirkblues wrote:

    Gordon Smith the SFA Chief should resign. Team GB would be the England Team so should be called that
    The Olympics are for diddy teams so should suit England down to a tee

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  • 36. At 9:58pm on 29 May 2009, liongilgil wrote:

    Few points here,
    1.will this be only sport in Olympics where people will be excluded to compete by their nationality?
    2. What would happen to an uncapped player who was e.g Scottish and he wanted to play for GB,how could he be stopped.
    3.only chance home nations have of winning something 3 things gold silver bronze not win lose like world cup etc.
    4. Mr robson at celtic may scoff......hope he has a more successful career than ronaldinhio,etoo, romario, tevez etc many of who i remember sobbing when presented with medals for their countries.
    5.Guess home nations excluding england will just continue to struggle through qualifiers instead of embarking on a exciting adventure of union that would represent best chance of a prize.

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  • 37. At 10:08pm on 29 May 2009, Irish_Londoner wrote:

    The Northern Irish FA doesn't want to be part of a British team. How ironic.

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  • 38. At 10:15pm on 29 May 2009, ffynnongarw wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 39. At 10:16pm on 29 May 2009, Globaltraveller wrote:

    #36 But that's the point. For the vast majority of Scots (in Sporting spheres, at least) their country is Scotland. It starts and stops at Scotland. Not the UK, not GB and certainly not a glorified "Greater England".

    And in answer to your last point, yes I'd be much happier seeing my country knocked out at the first stages than supporting a sham that goes further. A sham that I just simply cannot identify with.

    If we really wanted to go into Union with other footballing nations to get into some kind of "exciting footballing adventure"........Then we'd be approaching France, Brazil, Argentina or the other nations which compose the "creme de la creme" of international football, don't you think?

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  • 40. At 10:24pm on 29 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    First of all, I would like wish the best to the English team that will play at the London Olympics. However it's certainly not Team GB, it's English and I will be rooting for the teams who play against Team England during the Olympics.

    This will potentially risk the independence of the other home nations. There are some who do question why the United Kingdom, who are seen as one country in itself international has four votes... by playing as one team we have no defence if country's question why we can not do this again for the world cup etc.

    I personally am against Team GB because I do not see it in the best interest of Scotland, or Scottish fans. The team would be primary made out of English players, and we would be fortunate to see two or three Scottish players. How are we, Scotland, represent better by this?

    I would have prefered that each home nation should have played for the right to represent Great Britain at the Olympics. However since England managed to do so through the back door I will be rooting for everyone but 'Team England'.

    The idea was also destroyed by Gordon Brown. Brown turned the situation politcal, this is at a time when Scotland is questioning Britishness. In Scotland people believe themselves to be Scottish only or Scottish more then British. This situation can be seen as another attempt to force Britishness down our throats and put many others off the idea of Team GB.

    Like I said earlier I wish the best to the English team, but it's English. Let's not kidd ourselves. Good luck fellas.

    Besides... Team England or Team GB or the rest of the world will still believe England to be Britain...

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  • 41. At 10:26pm on 29 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    I'd also point out to those using the Lions as reason for Team GB.

    The rugby team also has players from the Republic of Ireland. It's a totally different story altogether.

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  • 42. At 10:36pm on 29 May 2009, KilliefaninAyr wrote:

    Methinks you have missed the point Mr Bose by making this a political issue stoked up by the nationalists. Opposition to Team GB runs across the political spectrum as football is both tribal and nationalist with a small 'n', whereas we all get behind GB athletes in proper Olympic sports which football isn't. How many fans can actually name the teams who competed in the final in Beijing last year?

    True English football fans support the Celtic nations' stance on this; it is the wider uninformed English public that is critical of fans in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who all feel the same way. Just because we don't agree with the 85% of the population doesn't make it wrong.

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  • 43. At 10:57pm on 29 May 2009, malc78 wrote:

    Football what is your problem???

    in Rugby we have the British & Irish Lions, so if all the nations can come together for this great occasion then why the hell cant the all the football associations stop being so stupid and allow a proper GB team for the Olympics.

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  • 44. At 10:58pm on 29 May 2009, paulnorthstand wrote:

    Why not avoid any further problems by entering all national competitions in all sports as England, Scotland, Wales and N.I.
    I am English, certainly not British, and would feel much happier supporting my own country.

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  • 45. At 11:11pm on 29 May 2009, Tom wrote:



    The British and Irish Lions are a different story. It consists of people from the Republic of Ireland, a different country altogether! However the United Kingdom is one country to the international community. In the world many question why the United Kingdom is allowed four votes instead of one...

    The Olympics football may not be of importance but the rest of the world may take the Olympics football seriose. If we played under one banner then what can we say when suggested we play in the world cup as one country?

    It's the real situation. Despite assurances there are people who would press on with the matter, and then again policy may change in the future...

    It's far better allowing our national teams play one another with the victor representing Great Britain. It would provide us with entertainment, and we all would be proud to see whoever succeed at the Olympics.

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  • 46. At 11:17pm on 29 May 2009, Alex Sarmiento wrote:

    This issue shouldn't even be an issue. The under-23 men's Olympic tournament (which someone posted earlier as a tournament that "no one cares about" - tell that to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who DID compete in the Olympics) makes for great experience for the up-and-comers of men's soccer. Lionel Messi wouldn't be half the player he is were it not for leading Argentina to two consecutive Olympic gold medals. The women's Olympic tournament is equal to if not better than the women's World Cup. Great Britain has loads of talented soccer players that would kill to compete in the Olympics. In fact, England's under-23 and elite women's teams did qualify for the 2008 Olympics, but they couldn't compete because of this ridiculous "jeopardizing independent status" brouhaha.

    I say, let England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales field teams for the World Cup and European Championships (men and women, under-23 and elite and whatever). For the Olympics, field the best athletes from all parts of Great Britain. Other sports do it for the Olympics, and no one bats an eye. Depriving talented athletes the opportunity to grow and improve (and the Olympics are perhaps the best showcase in the world for that, even more so than the World Cup) because of political crap will hurt soccer in Great Britain. Hell, those athletes may be proud to be Scottish, Welsh, English, or Northern Irish, but they would love to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

    If Sir Chris Hoy had been banned from competing for Great Britain because Scotland (which last time I checked isn't even a sovereign nation or an overseas autonomous dependency, mind you) wouldn't allow him to, he wouldn't have won 3 gold medals in Beijing, he wouldn't have been knighted, he wouldn't have won Sports Personality of 2008, and Great Britain wouldn't have had its best Olympic performance in a long time.

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  • 47. At 11:17pm on 29 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    What absolute dross trying to drag 'national' politics into a purely 'footballing' politics situation. When were the SNP elected to power? When was the first opposition to Team GB registered from Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland? Doesn't add up now does it, thought that's why I hadn't heard this line before. If anyone has been playing politics with this it's been Global Brown and Jim 'Muttering' Murphy SoS.

    To those citing the British and Irish Lions:

    1. Republic of Ireland is involved, obviously a different situation from what we're talking about.
    2. Lions tours have occurred throught the modern sporting era, precedent is involved, unlike GB football (circa 20's last time a team competed). A large number of new footballing federations have arrived on the scene since then following the break of countries or the rise of football in other areas of the world (why else is it harder to qualify for a world cup now than in previous decades). Rugby has not had this situation to deal with, there aren't an influx of new rugby teams all vying to qualify ahead of the "established" nations..
    3. The IRB has not made overtones previously to merge the British and Irish rugby into the Lions permantly (not enough other top sides around to replace them for a start) or had a motion tabled by other members stating that they wished this to happen (such a motion has been tabled previously at FIFA through the African federation).

    In short the two are not comparable.

    FIFA do not like the idea that the laws of the game, controleld by the IFAB, has eight federations involved, four of which are the home nations. Reducing the home nations to one side opens up three spots on the IFAB board, reduces the voting power of the home nations in other issues, reduces number of teams in European and international competition etc.

    I find it hard to believe England football fans would be happy cheering on GB at the world cup or the european championships anymore than footballing fans from the other home nations. If this was going to happen on a permanent basis amicably it would've had to have happened a long time ago.

    Sepp Blatter can make all the assurances he likes, it would still set a precedent whoever competes. He can give his personal assurance, but what happens when he is no longer the president? A formal motion recognising the independence of the four home nations federations would have to be passed to categorically ensure this. This hasn't happened and will not. The man has already flip flopped on his position already on the matter you can't trust a word he has said.

    One last point:
    1. FIFA founded in 1904
    2. FA founded 1863
    3. SFA founded 1873
    3. FAW founded 1876
    4. IFA founded 1880
    5. First ever international match, contested between Scotland and England 1872
    6. First IFAB meeting between the footballing federations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (as was) took place in 1886.
    7. First British Home Championship 1883-1884

    It would be criminal for FIFA to erase the origins of the game.

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  • 48. At 11:21pm on 29 May 2009, jsybaz wrote:

    How about this for a suggestion - we pick a best team from the Island Games 2011 football tournament so the team is made up players from Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Anglesey and any of the Scottish islands that are involved?

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  • 49. At 11:21pm on 29 May 2009, magazine77 wrote:

    The depth of misunderstanding on this issue has really worried me right from the start of it becoming a news story. Yes, there is a degree of xenophobia towards the English in Scotland; Yes, some English people can be patronising to the other nations which make up the UK; yes, the British and Irish lions are a wonderful thing. However these things have nothing to do with this particular issue which is squarely about the survival of four football teams which have been in existence now for the best part of 150 years and have fans who have followed them ever since they were old enough to watch football.
    I suspect that the motivation of the GB Olympic association is only to promote the London Olympics by means of its most popular sport. I don't think they could care less about the status of the home nations national teams and I think they have been bullying in their tactics to ensure they have a GB side to promote. I think the FA would like to latch on to the GB side idea as part of their drive to capture the 2018 World Cup. I don't think they care about the other home nations sides and, bizzarely, seem not to care much about the historic status of their own team - a peculiarly arrogant oversight.
    Do you think that Chelsea or Arsenal, for instance, would risk their own club's existence to compete as part of a London select for a one off tournament that they might just have slightly more chance of winning than they otherwise would? Would their fans happily switch their permanant allegiance to a combined team? Does any of this matter if we could all get together and win a Gold medal and create some good pr for the Olympic committee and the FA bid? Well, yes, it does and to a lot of people.
    One of the first responses here accused the SFA of being petty, selfish and foolish for contesting this issue. All they have done is try to preserve the status of one of the two oldest football teams in world football; one that has competed in 8 world cups and 2 european championships and that I and many others have supported all our lives. I would have been angry if they hadn't and I'm concerned now that they have been pushed into this corner by more powerful bodies with one off agendas which really aren't as important in my opinion.

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  • 50. At 11:29pm on 29 May 2009, Grecian_Jeff wrote:

    The comments above are mostly nationalistic narrow-minded responses, even those that pretend to be arguing from a 'sporting' p.o.v. However, some have hit a crucial nail on the head... why shouldn't the young players themselves choose whether they'd like to compete in the tournament? They dont need xenophobic nationalists, whether English, Scottish or otherwise, telling them they shouldnt be competing in the Olympics at the start of the domestic season (their clubs will do that!) Why should they be denied the opportunity that their French, Spanish, Brazilian, etc peers enjoy just because we happen to have 4 football teams under FIFA?

    As for the competition itself, does it really matter if the Team GB football team is 100% English anymore than it matters whether athletes competing in individual events under the Team GB banner are English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish? England is part of Britain, and English people are British, so it is accurate just as accurate as Chris Hoys medals being for Team GB cycling (as a proud Scot) or Nicole Cookes medal for Team GB swimming (as well as being Welsh).

    At the end of the day, it is just other nations being jealous that is causing the problem. The Faeroe Islands can compete for FIFA but Faeroese athletes have to compete for Denmark in the Olympics and no one complains. I know it might be an odd situation for GB vs the home nations, but it works in rugby and there are good historic and founder-related reasons for the differences in football

    Are FIFA going to forget that in the post WW2 poverty, it was the home nations FAs that grouped together to form a GB XI to take on a World XI at Wembley to raise cash to keep FIFA going?

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  • 51. At 11:49pm on 29 May 2009, chicagounited90 wrote:

    Why doesn't someone ask they players - the actual athletes who would representing Team GB of the home nations, what they want to do. I bet this hasn't been done!

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  • 52. At 00:02am on 30 May 2009, posh_bhoy wrote:

    "Lionel Messi wouldn't be half the player he is were it not for leading Argentina to two consecutive Olympic gold medals."

    Utter nonsense. If Messi had not competed in those competitions i'm quite sure he'd still be setting the heather on fire at Camp Nou. You cannot possibly attribute his brilliance to playing in two summer competitions containing largely U-23 players.

    "The under-23 men's Olympic tournament (which someone posted earlier as a tournament that "no one cares about" - tell that to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who DID compete in the Olympics)"

    Yes, nobody cares about it in football. Becoming Olympic champion is the pinnacle of an athletes career - pitting him/hersel against the world best and coming out on top. Not so in football. The players in Olympic football are *not* the worlds best - only 3 senior players per squad and many top clubs refuse to release players for this tournament. Olympic gold for a footballer or a fan is not a priority. There are bigger fish to fry.

    If Olympic Football is so important, then why the clamour to enter a team at these Olympics and not previous events? Why - because it is in London and the government feel compelled to do everything they can to promote the tournament in the face of criticism at the ever increasing costs.

    In short, political maneouvering is threatening the very fabric of our game. We (and include the English in this) must not let this happen.

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  • 53. At 00:34am on 30 May 2009, Phil wrote:

    Im English and couldnt give 2 hoots about the Olympics. I never missed a Team GB in the football before, so why should i all of a sudden want one? If i were Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish i would kick up a fuss. Like others have said, why risk so much for so little? Pure arrogance.

    #32 1Wattie "If however you want to see true hatred of your nation try going to Ireland, France Germany Iraq India Pakistan, in fact almost any country in the world that has suffered at the hands of the so called British Empire. They, like most of the English nation, look upon the United Kingdom as England anyway."

    Hahahahaha, have you no idea about History? What a ridiculous statement

    The Germans suffered at the hands of the British empire how exactly? By starting and losing 2 World Wars? Nice one

    The French suffered by... been saved by the allied forces with Britain spear heading the troops on the Western front in 2 World Wars. Im sure the French would rather be speaking German now.

    The Indians and Pakistanis still STRIVE to be more English. They desperately try to hold on to some of their colonialist ways.

    Have you ever been to ANY of these countries? I doubt it. If you had you wouldnt post such utter tripe.

    Sure the English are no saints, but please tell me which nations are? England has been invaded by Germans, French, Spanish, Swedish, Irish, Welsh, Scottish etc etc. We dominated the World for a tiny fraction of time, GET OVER IT! So have other countries - Egypt, Iran (Persia), Macedonia (Alexander the Great), Greece, China, Italy (Rome), Mongolia (Ghenghis Khan), Turkey (Ottomans) USA etc etc these things come and go. Did they do no bad deeds? No rape, pillage and murder? Sh!t happens DEAL WITH IT!

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  • 54. At 01:20am on 30 May 2009, U13982173 wrote:

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  • 55. At 02:05am on 30 May 2009, arconat wrote:

    NoGBfootball wrote earlier:

    "I often admire the English trait of optimism, especially in football, the the football track record is not good. Failed world cup campaigns, narrow victories (Euro 96 penalty victories) no final appearances in my 40 year old lifetime etc. The list is extensive...."

    Well how many times have England also been knocked out on penalties? And by biased refereeing/cheating? Such as Argentina in 1998, Portugal in the Euros, Holland in the 94 WC qualifiers, etc? Most teams have to win on penalties at least once to win anything. And refereeing often means the difference between defeat and victory. Bias, hatred and jealousy against the English is as evident in refereeing as it is on this forum.

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  • 56. At 02:31am on 30 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #53 Deats80

    "We dominated the World for a tiny fraction of time"

    While we're on the history lessons, the "we" included all of us, Irish Welsh, Scots and English. It may be forgiveable for people outwith this country to think of or know the UK as 'England' (then again maybe not), however it's not really for those that should know better.

    Then again I'm sure that's exactly what you meant in your post.

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  • 57. At 02:46am on 30 May 2009, Briggaduccio wrote:

    I have to chuckle at these remarks about 'petty', 'nationalistic', 'xenophobic' and 'narrow-minded' football fans not wanting a team GB football team. It must take real intellectual maturity and self awareness to conclude that us provincial oiks should discard our mean and petty identities and get behind the idea. After all, surely we want to grab the opportunity to teach these foreign rotters a thing or two about the game we gave them? Don't we?

    Marvellous! And not a trace of irony!

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  • 58. At 03:31am on 30 May 2009, halfamo wrote:

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  • 59. At 03:52am on 30 May 2009, posh_bhoy wrote:


    please explain why the SFA, etc are racist? The tone of your post suggests a certain amount of prejudice in your own character.

    Tell me, would you be ok with Team England being replaced with Team GB in the World Cup?

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  • 60. At 04:54am on 30 May 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    17. At 7:52pm on 29 May 2009, rob_LFC_fairbairn wrote:
    dodger9, I live in england and the amount of casual prejudism and snide comments scots put up with from the arrogant engerlish is enough to make any scot 'hate' the english to an extent.

    my dad got in a fight the other week in a pub because from a completely unrelated matter some arrogant englishman insulted my dad, which he ignored, and then my mum, which he didnt, using the word 'jock scum' among others.

    i only wish i'd been there to see dad wipe the smirk off his face, which he did.

    I'm sure you feel SO proud of your father for being able to "wipe the smirk off his face"... would you have felt soi proud if he'd been able to talk his way out of resorting to violence?

    Lets face it, the scots, welsh, and N.Irish hate the English for historical reasons, which has nothing to do with football, and will ALWAYS disagree with anything that will undermine their national Identities.

    I've sat down in a bar in Wales and been asked "you English?... I Hate the English!" without ever having acknowledged the man: my reply wasn't to "wipe the smile off his face, but to simply point out... "How can you hate ME when you've never met me? take a few minutes to get to find out what a thoroughly horrible man I really am, then make your descision!" the guy was so taken aback, he (and his mates) started laughing, and by the end of the evening we were all trading drinks not blows...

    We are ALL separate nations, with separate identities, and in my mind a 2011 Olympic qualifying tournament between the home nations would have solved the problem, and if it led to a qualifying tournament for the world cup and european championships, so what? does anyone EVER expect an all home nations final in either tournament? of course not.

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  • 61. At 05:27am on 30 May 2009, kkandnathan wrote:

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  • 62. At 08:41am on 30 May 2009, tjohnhuish wrote:

    Hi Mihir. Excellant article as always.

    What I think we all need to consider is why is this being proposed. It is undoubtely pressure from the IOC on the BOC to fall in line with the other sports.

    I think it a nonsence that football and other major professional sports are in the olympics in the first place. But the IOC believe themselves to be all powerful and want to shape the world of sport in their image.

    Unfortunaltey for them football and many other sports are bigger than the olympics and will always be so. If you are a kid growing up in the streets of Glasgow, Rio or Dubai, you want to be a Messi, Ronaldo etc. not an olymipc star.

    I am an Englishman and I want to see England play Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the world cup. If Anddora et al can put a team in then so should we be able to.

    John - Dubai

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  • 63. At 08:47am on 30 May 2009, halfamo wrote:

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  • 64. At 08:51am on 30 May 2009, suewin123 wrote:

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  • 65. At 09:25am on 30 May 2009, confiseur wrote:

    Its bring on the cliches time once again folks...

    the English are arrogant..
    ...the Scots are racist..
    ..the Irish are somewhat less than intellectual..
    ...and the Welsh have a peculiar fondness for sheep..

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  • 66. At 10:17am on 30 May 2009, snowcliche wrote:

    Personally i dont see where the fuss is coming from half the people who want Scotland to be independant still say the tournament does not matter then why oppose? At the end of the day this is a Under 23 tournament where some of the younger generation of British footballers could play and maybe pick up a medal which for most British footballers would be the only thing they win in an international career it also gives them more experience of playing at a big tournament infront of thousands of fans. Also the Olympic tournament should not be considered in the same way as the World Cup and just like another Olympic event therefore we should be supported the chance that we could pick up another medal to improve on 2008 triumph

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  • 67. At 10:45am on 30 May 2009, universityred wrote:

    Having a England team playing for GB at the 2012 Olympics is stupid. I can hear the complaints from the Premier League managers already. In 2012 the season will end in May, you will have the European Championships in June/July and the Olympics overlapping the start of the season in August. Perhaps the BOC can explain when some of the young English players are going to get a rest/holiday.

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  • 68. At 11:25am on 30 May 2009, Phil wrote:

    ScotInNotts i apologise, i missed putting a paragraph in my text, to separate the points.

    If you re-read my post you will see i always referred to 'we' as 'Britain' EXCEPT when i was saying about England been invaded in the past - when i clearly wrote England.

    There was supposed to be a clear distinction between England and Britain at that point, and that point only, but i dont tend to read over msgs on forums before posting. I know the distinction.

    However, I would say there is a distinction between Britain and England and what it gave the World. If you look at India, how many traits did they adapt from Celtic society? Is the 'traditional English gentleman' not what some aspired to? Do you see them wearing kilts? speaking in the other British languages - or just English? Trying to pick up a Glaswegian accent?

    Like has been mentioned earlier in this blog, all the home countries have a different identity and most of what was picked up abroad during the British Empire was from English society (either directly or indirectly), like it or not. In fact Scotland, Wales and Ireland have picked up a great deal from English society - just like the English picked up everything from all the societies which invaded us. England is a mongrel race of the highest order!

    My original point was saying its nonsense commenting that this country and that hate the English. Its clearly written by someone who knows nothing of fact and only stereotype.

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  • 69. At 11:42am on 30 May 2009, U13982173 wrote:

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  • 70. At 11:44am on 30 May 2009, snowcliche wrote:

    i think that alot of the England olympic squad will not be the same squad as in 2012 championships and most likely half of Britain wont get through so if its an all Briitsh team wont be much of a problem but if its a js ngland team only real worry

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  • 71. At 11:58am on 30 May 2009, reaktor303 wrote:

    I thought the English were proud to be English all of a sudden? People need to forget about this Britain nonsense once and for all. It is not a country. It's an island. It's a bond between different countries.

    And this "Team GB", in that designation, shouldn't even likely be in the Olympics. I'm not just on about football here but for everything. I state this categorically - there is no country called "GB" or "Great Britain". It does not exist!

    So why does it exist in the Olympics? There is definitely something not quite right! And there's proof of individual countries, like Scotland, appearing at early Olympics and even winning medals.

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  • 72. At 12:35pm on 30 May 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    There shouldn't be a GB Team becuase Football shouldn't be an Olympic Sport. We have a unique postion in Football having 4 FIFA members from a single political entity. We don't care others don't like that postition. I think the BOA should solve this by taking a similer contrary position. The BOA should take the stand that it's the British belief that Olympic Sports should only be those which consider winning Olympic Gold is the pinnacle of achievment in their Sport. So we Brits will only participate in sports which hold that view, even if we have to host them on the IOC's behalf. So no GB Football or Tennis, and certainly no support for new applicant such as Golf or Rugby

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  • 73. At 1:00pm on 30 May 2009, tgj106 wrote:

    1Wattie wrote: "If however you want to see true hatred of your nation try going to Ireland, France Germany Iraq India Pakistan, in fact almost any country in the world that has suffered at the hands of the so called British Empire. They, like most of the English nation, look upon the United Kingdom as England anyway."
    Wow, you truly need to see a psychiatrist or something buddy. The French don't hate us (as you said earlier - about English/Scottish - it's mostly just banter), the Germans definately don't, the Irish couldn't care less (apart from a few idiots - but every country has those), many Indians have a great deal of respect for the British (and are more concerned about their own government's failure to deal with poverty etc. in their own country) and having personally been to Iraq most of them don't give a stuff either and just want running water, schools for their kids etc. So that leaves Pakistan...
    You are a first class degenerate and a shame to Scots/British everywhere.

    On the football side, understand all the furore over seperate vs British team but those who say it is a pointless tournament etc. are talking rubbish. It is only pointless if we don't have a team entered, in whatever format (preferably with a host of young stars from all over Britain) so that for once, British people can watch a game of football and support the same side! If it is only English players in a British team I can see some Celts supporting the opposition which would be very disappointing.

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  • 74. At 1:01pm on 30 May 2009, tgj106 wrote:

    Reaktor 303, what about the British Army then? What about our goverment?

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  • 75. At 1:34pm on 30 May 2009, InuteroXI wrote:

    If they unite the four countries into one team eventually you will have a problem with motivating the team and it will result in fragmentation - other sports are much more minor and don't have the mass appeal or significance of football - the ideal solution would be a mini tournament and let that country represent GB or UK or whatever name is used during the Olympics

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  • 76. At 2:00pm on 30 May 2009, confiseur wrote:

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  • 77. At 2:14pm on 30 May 2009, dmp007 wrote:


    You say,

    'The Indians and Pakistanis still STRIVE to be more English. They desperately try to hold on to some of their colonialist ways.'

    Whilst the British Empire did do some good thing's in India, I'm sure most would have preferred it the British didn't come and exploit and rob them.

    I've been to India. Indians don't strive to be more English. They are proud of what they are already. Never been to Pakistan, but I'm sure they feel the same as well.

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  • 78. At 2:27pm on 30 May 2009, dmp007 wrote:

    Forgot to say in 77,

    Indian's now though don't hold a grudge against the British and both Nation's do get along.

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  • 79. At 3:05pm on 30 May 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    It would seem that the same have to spin being "proud" of ones Nation into defacto hatred of others. Scottish Football Fans are just as proud of their team as England. They have every right to fear the long term implications to Scottish Football for the short gain of having a GB Team. FIFA is a democracy. What Blatter says today won't matter in 10 or 20 years time. A future FIFA Presedential candidate may try to win the minoes vote by demanding the reduction of UK influence to a single member and team, using the 2012 Olympics Team as justification. Platini did something similer when offering to reduce the Champions League entries from the bigger countries. It could well Platini himself!

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  • 80. At 3:44pm on 30 May 2009, DC ARAB wrote:

    Its bring on the cliches time once again folks...

    the English are arrogant..
    ...the Scots are racist..
    ..the Irish are somewhat less than intellectual..
    ...and the Welsh have a peculiar fondness for sheep

    Best comment by far except we Scots are tight, mean, little so and so's not racist! :)

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  • 81. At 3:48pm on 30 May 2009, japy85 wrote:

    this GB TEAM is an absoulte disgrace

    typical selfish english nonsense

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  • 82. At 3:52pm on 30 May 2009, japy85 wrote:

    oh and if worst came to worst and we had to enter the wortld cup as GB i think id be done with football.

    why would i want to celebrate a team of englishmen wining some tournament. Yes we are all "british" unfort. But i prefer my heroes to be closer to home

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  • 83. At 4:26pm on 30 May 2009, TootingExcess wrote:

    I wonder what those Welsh fans complaining about this think of Cardiff and Swansea playing in the English leagues?

    Should they move to the League of Wales, thereby safeguarding the independence of the Welsh FA and Welsh football clubs?

    The four British Football associations are the oldest in the world, along with their football teams - and they aren't ever going to merge, so I fail to see why people are getting bothered by this

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  • 84. At 6:11pm on 30 May 2009, Phil wrote:

    dmp007 - just a little point about India.

    Did the English just take? Or did they give them hospitals, schools, the railway, industry etc etc etc. Its easy to overlook the positives of colonialism.
    Did they have a system whereas they could exploit their own riches? NO. Do they now? Hmmm, well its slowly but surely getting there. Still the vast majority live under the poverty line and are governed by people equally as bad. Is it ok as a politician to shaft your own people, but if you are a foreigner doing it, then its not? Thats hypocrisy.

    Do Indian officialdom and upper classes still aspire to be English, Hell Yes! They ditch traditional Indian ways in favour of the Western methods of living. They pride themselves on speaking 'proper English'. Indias a big big country, so i confess the majority arent like this, BUT the majority of those who have any form of authority have Westernised and more accurately taken influence from England.

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  • 85. At 10:57pm on 30 May 2009, dmp007 wrote:

    84. At 6:11pm on 30 May 2009, Deats80

    Sorry Mihir, as this misses the point of your blog.

    read my comment. I did say the british did do good things in India. i know there were benifit's for the indian's. However i'm sure they would've prefered not be treated like inferiors in their own home.

    Also were those thing's really done for the indian's or for themselves? i'm guessing mostly for themselves, as they were not planning on letting go of India.

    You also said

    'Is it ok as a politician to shaft your own people, but if you are a foreigner doing it, then its not? Thats hypocrisy.'

    read my earlier comment, did i once say that it's OK for Indian politicians to treat their own people badly?.NO


    'Do Indian officialdom and upper classes still aspire to be English, Hell Yes! They ditch traditional Indian ways in favour of the Western methods of living. They pride themselves on speaking 'proper English'.

    these upper classes are not the true reflection of Indian society, they are losing their Indian identity. live in the villages like i have, then you will see what true Indian's really aspire to be.

    as for knowing 'Proper English', many Indian's speak at least two languages, they learn English as it improves career possibilities of working abroad.

    You for some reason are adamant, that Indian's aspire to be English.

    Again sorry Mihir for missing the point of your Blog.

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  • 86. At 09:14am on 31 May 2009, jhfgdsaw wrote:

    #17 rob_LFC_fairbairn

    My dad is bigger than your dad

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  • 87. At 09:50am on 31 May 2009, U13982173 wrote:

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  • 88. At 12:10pm on 31 May 2009, mblmbl wrote:

    1Wattie, I think you need to calm down, I suspect your the one doing the hating.

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  • 89. At 2:57pm on 31 May 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    At the height of mistrust over MP's I'm surprised that some people believe that FIFA, and EUFA for that matter, are to be trusted. These organisations, like the IOC, epitomise that Sport and Politics do mix, that is representetives want to progress up the greasy pole and will offer anything to do it. The Scots arn't as nieve as tho toffs who run the English FA. I just can't see why the English FA didn't say no. I get very angry when it's implied that the FA's would just agree as the idea was "beyond debate". That English Fans would say yes becuase Beckham said it was a good idea!

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  • 90. At 8:46pm on 31 May 2009, VenomPD wrote:

    Quite a lot of English people on here don't seem to understand that the Celtic nations don't want to be a part of it because we feel FIFA approval and the continued existence of the 4 home nations is far more important than the joke that is Olympic football. Who really cares about the football at the Olympics it's not even competed by the very best players anyway.

    Typical English blinkered arrogance saying no players from Scotland, NI or Wales would make it in anyway. Not won a tournament in over 40 years and that was a dodgy one in their own country. Also quite happy for folk like Chris Hoy and Andy Murray to be British but not quite the same when Lewis Hamilton or Ronnie O'Sullivan win. Very English trait, don't get their own way so they throw a Wayne Rooney toys-out-the-pram hissy-fit

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  • 91. At 11:15pm on 31 May 2009, Jordan D wrote:

    Last I checked it was the BOA's football team and not the SFA/WFA/IFA/FA's team. If any of the Associations forbid individuals from playing for the BOA, the players should sue the Associations for restraint of trade. I for one would love to see the SFA/WFA/IFA suffer for their stance.

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  • 92. At 11:15pm on 31 May 2009, Race for your life wrote:

    I don't particularly want this GB team but notice a few small problems.

    Cardiff and Swansea are in the English league denying 2 English team the right to play in their national league and the Welsh make a fuss about this GB team Plus their are 4 other Welsh team in the English football Pyramid. They should all return to Wales with the Welsh Premier League.

    Celtic and Rangers and the 'move to the Premiership' that we heard so much about. Again the fuss over the GB team but its ok for the Old Firm to moot about a move to the English leagues and particularly get the money. 2 English teams again denied places in their own league by a Non-English team. Craig Brown was so passionate about no Team GB but has kept very quiet about Old Firm in England. Any comments Mr Brown or is it ok to spunge from the EPL and then refuse Team GB?

    Quite frankly Welsh and potential Scottish teams in England is more meat for FIFA to feed on. The term 'Pot, Kettle, Black' comes to mind. Scottish/Welsh teams can play in England but can refuse Team GB.

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  • 93. At 11:18pm on 31 May 2009, brian7mcdee wrote:

    The whole thing is a farce. Olympics are for amateur sports only. Send a GB team of the juniors/amateur or even Sunday league players, I wouldn't mind that at all as that's what it's meant to be. It's why golf & some other major professional sports find it hard to get into the Olympics or at least make it a decent title. For most athletes that go to the Olympics its the pinnacle competition, being Olympic champion is the best thing to be. In football, it barely registers. Even the Confederations Cup has more prestige than the Olympic football! Doesn't matter now anyway, the deals been done so lets watch Team G-England-B u21 fall in the first round.

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  • 94. At 11:20pm on 31 May 2009, Green Soap wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 95. At 11:49pm on 31 May 2009, Gooner Broxi wrote:

    I honestly don't know where to begin with this article? Your opening comment "a very British clash of fear versus ambition." What extactly does this mean.

    Why is it so impotant that GB have a team in the 2012 games, other than the fact that it might be a bit strange that the home country doesn't have a participant? It is an under 21 tournament that NO-ONE cares about. Even the most ardant fan would struggle to tell you the last 5 winners.

    And to say the Scottish, Welsh and Irish decision not to take part lacks ambition is the definition of stupidity in my view Mr Bose. Ambition to win a tournament that ranks somewher above the Johnstone Paint Trophy?

    Also, it doesn't matter what Sepp Blatter says now, it's what the future FIFA president says! They could forever beat us with this stick when coming under pressure from other nations for spaces at major tournaments etc. espicially if that joke and ALLEGED criminal Jack warner gets in.

    So for the reasons above, why would we jepordise our status for a meaningless trophy? If "down South" requires its normal two weeks of frantic flag waving to make themselves feel proud of being British, then fire in. Just don't accuse us of being party poopers when we are the only ones being sensible and reasoned over what we are actually talking about...

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  • 96. At 11:51pm on 31 May 2009, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    IMO most Scots, Irishmen and Welshmen believe that any GB football team (now or past) would consist entirely of Englishman, irrespective of ability. Here's a striking example for you. The English-based media didn't seem to recognise that Dalglish was a good let alone a great player until he joined Liverpool. I recall Dalglish (of Celtic) playing a great match against England and the astonishment of the English pundits was matched only by the wry grin of Jock Stein. A GB team at that time (or years later) would have had Keegan at number seven. Nothing has changed.

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  • 97. At 11:54pm on 31 May 2009, F88 wrote:

    I look at it this way every 4 years we have a British and Irish Lions rugby team (union and league) that do a tour, this year is South Africa. They go, they pick the best players from the 4 home nations. And that is it, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland still keep their independent associations, and play both in the Six Nations and World Cup as England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. So why can't the footballers do the same, put aside their differences and once every four years field a British Lions football team for the Olympics.

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  • 98. At 11:56pm on 31 May 2009, mb295 wrote:

    So Jack Warner is against having the 4 Home Nations continue with their separate footballing identities - and he's quite high up in FIFA... Make's you wonder why we're all suspicious about what might happen to the 4 Associations further down the line when Blatter & Co. are long gone.
    Here's a thought though, especially for Mr Warner. Let's remove the separate footballing identities of all those joke Caribbean nations he represents and re-badge them as the West Indies - apparently it works quite well in cricket.

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  • 99. At 11:58pm on 31 May 2009, Simon_CTFC wrote:

    I for one would like to see team GB field a B side, made up of youngsters and players that slipped under the radar in English football, or that are retired, a typical example of each being Mancienne, Johnson and Scholes.

    The England team have the European Championships to deal with that summer, so don't need another event.

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  • 100. At 00:18am on 01 Jun 2009, coffeeandnan wrote:

    It's the Olympic tournament, so, who cares? Football fans won't. They will just be hoping that their club's players don't get injured. The Olympics is about rowing, sailing, horse-riding and other posh nonsense.

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  • 101. At 00:51am on 01 Jun 2009, frankie wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 102. At 01:19am on 01 Jun 2009, chuyggg wrote:

    The reality is that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of Great Britain, as such they should play as Great Britain. If people disagree with this then you can vote for independence. However, this has not happened so they all represent Team GB.

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  • 103. At 02:03am on 01 Jun 2009, wilshere-4-england wrote:

    No. 17 - rob_LFC_fairbairn
    Can i just get one thing straight?
    You are critical of this clearly idiotic Englishmen for what he said to your dad and your mum.-While i'm not defending him for clearly judging them for being Scottish, i couldn't, its just unfortunate that there are people like this.
    However how ironic is it that in that very same post you show how much of a hypocrite you are as you do the exact same thing with:
    "the arrogant engerlish"
    You made a blanket judgement about the english, while criticising one person for his views on Scotland.
    I don't suppose you'll see this but if you do it would be nice if you would tell me if you agree with how i see this or if you disagree, would you like to debate it.

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  • 104. At 02:31am on 01 Jun 2009, galbijim wrote:

    Why are so many people getting upset over this issue? I couldn't give a monkeys about the olympic football tournament and from what I can gather from my English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish friends, neither do they.

    How many games did everybody watch in the Beijing Olympic football tournament?

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  • 105. At 03:21am on 01 Jun 2009, rquinn-nufc wrote:

    I'm not one for stereotypes myself, but the englishmen who protest against their percieved "arrogance", only serve to further the sterotype through the manner in which they've responded to this criticsim.

    If they are be to believed Britain's only failure was to allow nationalists from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to have a say.

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  • 106. At 03:37am on 01 Jun 2009, rquinn-nufc wrote:

    As for the "GB" Olympic team, I do not agree with those who suggest that it would be an all English team, if all associations have their say. I defy anyone to find a young English player with the true potential of someone like Gareth Bale, rather than the hype which surrounds any young Englishman at a club such at Manchester United, whos shows signs of breathing. However, in saying that, I guess we all know who the men in charge would rather have representing team "GB".

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  • 107. At 06:34am on 01 Jun 2009, saddletramp wrote:

    My question is this,as the scots,irish and welsh will have nobody
    to cheer on at football in the summer of 2012,(due to there non-
    qualification for the european championships)wouldnt it be nice for
    them to have a football team to cheer on that year.
    Because due to the politics of having a team GB im sure that even
    though they will not be good enough on talent the manager will be
    forced into playing 1 welshman 1 scotsman and one irishman just to keep
    the peace.So ensuring all the minority countries in the UK have one
    player to cheer for.

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  • 108. At 07:01am on 01 Jun 2009, thesecretalchemist wrote:

    The words 'petty' and 'pathetic' have been bandied about a lot on this forum, and quite right, too - if we are talking about the attitude of the English FA.

    This is all about English arrogance, ignorance and hegemonic power. Imagine if the situation were reversed - the Celtic nations want a Team GB, but England don't. What kind of 'compromise' do you think would have been reached then? Absolutely none, of course.

    There was no Team GB in the last Olympics, and there won't be one after 2012. Simply because London is hosting the Olympics is not a strong enough argument for fielding a Team GB that no one argues for at any other time. We field UK teams in other sports, but in football, we do not compete as Team GB. For very good reasons. Why is that difficult for some Little Englanders to understand?

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  • 109. At 07:59am on 01 Jun 2009, rickyl1974 wrote:

    To me, there is a simple answer to the GB football team at the 2012 Olympics. None of the home nations can agree about a combine team so in 2011 the 4 play each other for the right to represent GB in the 2012 Olympics. This will give the players from all 4 nations a chance to compete in the Olympics rather than just giving the English players the chance.

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  • 110. At 08:17am on 01 Jun 2009, Paddy Nesbitt wrote:

    As football is probably Britain's number one sport in terms of popularity, I think it is disgusting that the associations couldn't put politics aside, embrace sport and allow a true British team to compete in the British olympics. Many young aspiring Scotish, Welsh and Ulster players will miss the chance to show the world what they can do.

    A younger manager or even a retired manager, British of course, would've probably loved the chance to run the side.

    Shame on all involved!

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  • 111. At 08:23am on 01 Jun 2009, PaulMCurtis wrote:

    I'm confused by your comments "unique privileged status that Britain has" and "complicated by the rise of the nationalists to power in Scotland".

    Scotland are their own Country, so there is nothing complicated about having Nationalists in powerm and while I think it would have been good to have entered as part of Britain, I also think its time we had our own teams entered.

    When you have companies like the BBC who are English and at every chance bring up 1966 when there is football on TV, or who if there were highlights on would show 5 minutes of a Scotland game and the whole England game.

    Sir, maybe you should have thought about your post before posting rubbish like this

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  • 112. At 08:24am on 01 Jun 2009, Jomar777 wrote:

    To all, the first principle: It is imperative that an Olympic Host Nation post teams or individuals to compete in ALL Olypic Modalities, including (yes!! including Football). That's why a Team GB is simply necessary. It comes with the package of hosting the Olympics. if we did not want a team GB, better them not to have put name forward o host the games at all.
    Clearing this, I must say that (maybe I am ignorant... so pelase help...) I cannot understand what would jeopardize the individual football authoritiy in Scotland more: have your youngsters to have a chance to participate to an international tournment that, albeit is not taken seriously by the Home Nations (probably because we were not participating anyway...) but that other nations DO TAKE seriously or having the wide proposed (but so far obten failed) bid to have Celtics and Rangers to participate of the English Premiership? What about Wales with Cardiff and Swansea nearing the play-offs of the English Championship also???
    Would it not be better then, to support Welsh and Scottish claims for no Team GB to scrap permanently their teams of making part (or thinking about making part) of the English Footbaling local tournements? Are Cardiff and Swansea actually rendering the Welsh League worthless and redundant since they are the best welsh teams but are playing in England? What about if Rangers and Celtic to join the English Premiership? And then, in future, should the financial/challenge need arise, Hibernian and Hearts, usning the precedent, decide to join in? And Aberdeen? And others? What of the Scottish FA and their so famed identity?
    I myself think that the actual compromise of Team GB made only by English players is a pitty but needed given the strong opposition from other nations. But this should be treated as a fair decision rather than provoke a huge outcry.

    I agree with whoever said that Murray's triumph on the tennis court are a big achievement for Scottland and Britain (not to England). I would have the commentator that commited the mistake either fired or at least suspended pending further progress inpolitics and geography. I am serious.

    But again, when I see this outcry from Welsh and Scottish (the Northern Ireland FA does ot have teams participating on the English Leagues, so I agree with them more...) against a Team GB for the reasons stated but also that they condone their football teams to make part (or aim to make part) of the ENGLISH Leagues and simply cannot understand what's the point.

    I believe that one day, should Rangers and Celtic, for example, join AND win the Premiership, the financial prospects will be so big that ti will bring the other Edinburgh, Aberdeen, etc, teams to wish to join in. Then the Scottish FA will have a hard work to prove their worthless regardless if Scotland continues, politically the same or even mor eindependent. The same applies to the Welsh, whose one of their teams (Swansea or Cardiff), I believe will have at least 70% of chances of playing the ENGLISH Premiership next year.

    That's where the real problem for their federations may lie.

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  • 113. At 08:38am on 01 Jun 2009, er-yir-macaroon wrote:

    Strange there is a lack of concern about the permanent end to Team England, for that is now in real jeopardy. Perhaps England fans aren't as passionate about their team as the other home nations? The formet Soviet block, African nations and South Americans are not at all happy with the privelaged status of our associations and will leap at any chance to have them abolished.

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  • 114. At 08:55am on 01 Jun 2009, Roger_Payne wrote:

    For the British Home Nation Football Associations and FIFA to agree to a British football team that only includes young players from England is discriminatory and against the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, which state "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement" (see page 11 of the Olympic Charter at Presumably, some young footballers from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will wish to be considered for a British team entered in the Olympic Games, and presumably the Olympic Movement and the Court of Arbitration for Sport would agree that for them to be excluded on the grounds of not being English is discriminatory and against the spirit of sport. Meanwhile, good luck to the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa, and to Rugby 7's in their quest to be accepted for the Olympic Games Programme.

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  • 115. At 08:57am on 01 Jun 2009, adampsb wrote:

    If however you want to see true hatred of your nation try going to Ireland, France Germany Iraq India Pakistan, in fact almost any country in the world that has suffered at the hands of the so called British Empire. They, like most of the English nation, look upon the United Kingdom as England anyway.

    Think you'll find a lot of scots were involved in the BRITISH empire. India and Pakistan do not hatye Britain at all neither do the majority of Iraqi's.. When we had the British empire Iraq in it's current form didn't exist and as for the French and Germans do you really think that they haven't got over whatever wars they#ve lost.. in football terms they look forward to playing England because it is always a great game. tehy look forward to playing the others in qualifying tournaments as usually (with one or two exceptions) it is 6 points guaranteed

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  • 116. At 09:20am on 01 Jun 2009, dm1983 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 117. At 09:21am on 01 Jun 2009, Rob wrote:

    It seems odd that this problem, which is rooted deep in global footballing politics, is treated by most English observers as being about jingoism, and the objection to a British team in principle.

    There are a few of the more rabid Scottish Nationalists who would oppose Team GB in principle, whatever the sport, but don't be fooled into thinking that they represent any kind of mainstream view.

    The pressure to reduce the number of British teams competing in world football has been present for a long time now, but it is only now that London is hosting the Olympics that it has come into the spotlight of the English media. I remember a good friend being selected to go to the World Student Games about 15 years ago and the SFA not allowing him to go.

    The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish perspectives are not taken lightly and, I'd imagine, without glee. But as I said up front, this sis a genuine issue that has its roots far beyound our shores. Ironic, therefore, that predominantly English commenters present it in pariochial terms.

    If none of you had noticed, you might not care if you never see the 3 Lions again, but this affects you as much as us 'little' countries. Is it arrogance, or a lack of National identity, that lends to such a carefree approach?

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  • 118. At 09:50am on 01 Jun 2009, popefridge wrote:

    Honestly this is blown out of proportion by the rabid nationalists in scotland (mainly).

    A coach picks players from all the home countries, they lose to bad teams and go home early like usual. There is no risk of losing our status as independent countries, that is just Blatter talking nonsense like he did with the ronaldo "slave" talk and about english clubs being bad businesses despite half of the european clubs being government-subsidised. He just hates Britain and people should just ignore him for the fool he is.

    And to the people who claim that they aren't british - you are, whether you like it or not. I don't particularly like the north of england yet I don't deny the fact that we are all English from london to newcastle. For every small-minded scot clinging onto some vague historical identity, there are more scots willing to move on and so stuff as a real country together - The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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  • 119. At 09:52am on 01 Jun 2009, Jordan D wrote:

    Just wondering. If Rugby 7s make it into the Olympics, will we have the same kind of jingo-ism as for the football when they try to put together a Team GB side?

    Or will they be a lot more gentlemanly about it?

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  • 120. At 09:56am on 01 Jun 2009, jason220190 wrote:

    funny to claim that it's arogant when someone comments that england would be a big loss to wolrd football. when england didn't qualify for the euros there was real disapiontment from the hosting nations. for many reason most of al the money generated for england being there. england at every major tournament have the largest travelling support to any part of the country. englands support is usually up there with the home nations support so to say england wouldn't be a huge loss is deluded. but for this arguament why shudn't thier be a team gb the four nations are never going to join outside of the olympics so why not have a team and try win a medal for the whole four countries. if it was a team full of english players theyd still be playing to win a medal for great britain.

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  • 121. At 09:57am on 01 Jun 2009, moresmallmindedness wrote:

    How depressing,can't we get over this usual small minded attitude. Football is our national sport and what better platform to raise its profile at the Olympics, when its being held on our doorstep. Scotlands approach is typical, we won't have any players good enough to be in the team so lets not take part. Who's to say that players such as Fleck, or some of the Hibs,Aberdeen or Dundee Utd youngsters could be top players by 2012 and with Fergie as manager? This rubbish about losing our representation is a smoke screen by nationalists. If there is enough top level political pressure put on FIFA, for a one off tournament it won't be a problem. P.S Hampden, Homecoming Scottish Cup Final, tribute to the Bard. SALMOND - POSTED MISSING - PATHETIC.

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  • 122. At 10:04am on 01 Jun 2009, harryhornet007 wrote:

    I don't particularly like the idea of a british team being made up of solely English players.

    If a British team is entered, it should be exactly that - made up of British people and not just English.

    We English are losing our identity all the time and this is yet another example!

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  • 123. At 10:11am on 01 Jun 2009, Dan wrote:

    For a start, I wonder how all these people got their jobs in the first place - if they can't even figure out where they live, what good are they at reporting news? Northern Ireland is NOT a part of Great Britain, so stop calling it as such.

    This is an absolute joke in any case. There is no way any of the FAs should have agreed to this. They each have their own well organised FAs throughout, and now all this great heritage is just being smashed into 1 all-English team? At least have the planned competition to decide who would be the representatives go ahead (although at least the Celtic Nations tourney is), or call the team England.

    And again: learn the difference between UK and GB. It's really embarrassing nobody in the BBC can tell the difference.

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  • 124. At 10:12am on 01 Jun 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'When you have companies like the BBC who are English and at every chance bring up 1966 when there is football on TV, or who if there were highlights on would show 5 minutes of a Scotland game and the whole England game.'

    Oh pleeeaaasseee. The Scots sre obsessed with beating England, the countless number of times I have seen on Tv and read reference to Scotland being the first team to beat England after the 1966 world cup or the time they won at Wembley and all the Scots stormed the pitch is never ending. Its like some public holiday... probably because it happens very infrequently!

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  • 125. At 10:17am on 01 Jun 2009, fraserdhood wrote:

    The stance of the Scots, Welsh and Irish is quite clear they dont want to risk being forced into becoming a single entity in world football. This would not only mean a team GB entering world cups and euro championships but would mean all 4 countries would have to share 3/4 champions league and europa league spots.

    I dont think this will ever happen and certainly not anytime soon but it COULD. And for that reason I agree with the stance of the SFA.

    People citing the Lions as an example - its completely different - for a start the IRB would be stupid to force the home nations to become the Lions at the world cup because it would basically half the number of competitive teams. And altho i do really enjoy the lions tours they are effectively meaningless international friendlies.

    The talk about Rangers and Celtic joining the Premiership is a different debate and i m sure the SFA would be against this as well as it could cause similar issues to arise.

    Cardiff and Swansea playing in English leagues doesnt come into this debate either and remember Berwick Rangers - an English team playing in Scottish leagues.

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  • 126. At 10:28am on 01 Jun 2009, davser wrote:

    As a Scot I'll support Team GB even if it is all English. Cheered on the rowers plenty of times.

    The only thing that counts is that the four home nations (especially the two who started international football) retain their identities.

    People seem to forget international football started in Scotland. To lose to eternity the country that first held an international match would be a disgrace IMO.

    And mihir, Scottish nationalism? Stop tagging other issues (which you have obviously no idea about) onto football. The distancing of the SFA from a team GB has occured since long before the SNP got into power.

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  • 127. At 10:36am on 01 Jun 2009, Scott wrote:

    The FAs of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland: don't join in because you fear for your independence (which I can understand); yet if an English team represents The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland then this too sets an equally dangerous precendent which could culminate in your removal from the international footballing sphere.

    Why not just have 3 Lions on a GB shirt instead?

    I guess it's easier to stand on the outside complaining about stuff rather than getting involved and trying to work through a solution in a sensible and grown up way.

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  • 128. At 10:41am on 01 Jun 2009, fraserdhood wrote:

    i forgot to mention in my original comment (no.125) that while we are all complaining about the various FA's had FIFA just officially come out and stated there position one way or another - or even better passed some official law on the matter, there would be no discussion.

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  • 129. At 10:51am on 01 Jun 2009, themightyshed wrote:

    What I find wholly depressing here is the ignorance, from Mihir Bose and many others who simply do not know, and do not take the time to understand, the perspective of the Scots, N Irish and Welsh.

    Mihir, for example, starts making heroic assumptions eg that this is all about Nationalist politics (its not Mihir, its about the preservation of Scotlands national team which is supported by all the other parties as well as the SNP).

    Others point out that the British Lions exists quite happily (yes, but theres a big difference namely that there is NO pressure within international rugby to amalgamate the home nations teams, whereas there is in football).

    Still more people argue that the Old Firm to English Premiership debate seems to contradict the No to Team GB case (yes which is precisely why the SFA is dead against it too the main protagonists in that argument are the moneymen at Rangers and Celtic).

    And to all those who say this is mean spirited, parochial or against the Olympic spirit, I would say this: Football is Scotlands national sport, it is our great passion. Why by any rational measure would we do something that the Chief Executive of UEFA and a former Vice President at FIFA (to name but two) have warned would jeopardise the very existence of our national team, all for the sake of a one-off Under 23 tournament?

    So please, before making knee-jerk responses and accusations, come and speak to us. What do they say about ignorance being the root of all prejudice?

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  • 130. At 10:54am on 01 Jun 2009, 11_Giggsy_11_dont_save_606 wrote:

    Surely the stance on this situation by the SFA on this matter could have a negative impact on Celtic's and Ranger's ambitions to join PL in the future? Its a different debate i know but surely SFA would play hardball to keep Rangers and Celtic. I certainly wouldn't want Celtic and Rangers in PL, especially after this. Anyway, it would be in SFA's best interests to keep Rangers and Celtic.

    'British' huh

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  • 131. At 10:55am on 01 Jun 2009, junkers wrote:

    Interesting to see if English football's enthusiam to incorporpate their fellow Brits extends to accepting Celtic and Rangers into England's league structure.

    Somehow I think not!

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  • 132. At 10:55am on 01 Jun 2009, dwmacleod wrote:


    It's somewhat disingenuous of you to mention politics and then completely ignore the politicking that Gordon Brown and the rest o the labour government have indulged in on this issue. The reason they have backed this is not to do with sport, it's to do with trying to re-emphasise 'britishness' as poltical tools to use against the rising sepeatist movements in both Scotland and Wales.

    I've also been staggered over the whole course of this debate over the lack of any critical journalistic investigaton - for example I have not seen any journalist ask what value Sepp Blatter's reassurances actually have. The FIFA congress is the body that has the power to make decisions about who competes and who doesn't - Sepp Blatter doesn't even have a vote on that, so his reassurances and guarantees are meaningless. That and the fact that he changes his mind repeatedly (anyone remember his guarantee to the african and asian nations that the world cup venue would rotate between the 5 continents from now on? Lasted all of two world cups, that one).

    It really does annoy me that this matter has had little or no objective reporting

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  • 133. At 11:01am on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    First principle - No responsibility without representation. I don't care what you think our repsonbilities are. I wasn't asked if I thought a London Olympics was a Good Idea. I wasn't asked if I was willing to see the future of seperate FA's put at risk in order to satisfy our so called responsibilities as an Olypmpic Host.
    Many Football Fans have no interest in summer sports at all. In the summer of 2012 those footy fans will be looking forward to the next season, not the Olympics from London.
    It would appear Football Fans are becoming an oppressed minorty in the face of pro Olympic hype. We would have more rights if where Gay!

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  • 134. At 11:09am on 01 Jun 2009, Bingbangbush-Sensi Stars OF 606 FPL wrote:

    Isn't it about time we were allowed the home nations to represent themselves in the Olympic games?

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  • 135. At 11:11am on 01 Jun 2009, davser wrote:

    Would the English like to see Team GB v the Aussies for the Ashes?

    I think not.

    As for teh old firm in the EPL issue. If that happens just watch the top 4 in England leave the EPL for a European league

    AS for this poster, shows how much you know

    "Its like some public holiday... probably because it happens very infrequently!"

    Sco v Eng, Played 110, Sco 41 wins, Eng 45 wins, 24 draws

    Happens rather frequently in fact. I seem to remember Sco beating Eng last time they played as well.

    Still, not like some on here to have the mereset grasp of the facts.

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  • 136. At 11:14am on 01 Jun 2009, B wrote:

    This is most bizarre, but obviously sounds very political in the reasoning.

    The team should simply be a Lions side similar to rugby, appoint a totally seperate coach and pick all the best in that coaches opinion.

    But clearly as in football thee is no history to such a side its more difficult.

    The most glaringly obvious problem with doing the above is no footballing coach will get off his backside for less then several million pounds.

    I suppose such a team can only embarriss the current england squad, for example if a scottish coach was appointed and chose a mostly english but different squad to the england team and they outdid england in the WC for example.

    The biggest difficulty here seems to be that football is a pro sport, arent the olympics supposed to be amateur sports? So its simple pick a young team from the english second div and from wales and scottish fotball perhaps, or more to the point dont have football in the olympics as its a pro sport!

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  • 137. At 11:14am on 01 Jun 2009, dufcterror - I love the shimmy wrote:

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  • 138. At 11:19am on 01 Jun 2009, Jonathan wrote:

    Why is football even in the Olympics? The ideal of Olympics is that it is the premier award in your sport, which is certainly true for swimming, athletics, hockey, etc. I can't say the same of Football.
    Also I can see it now that people like Ferguson moaning about releasing players for the tournament when they should be playing league games! Basically you'll get a half baked team whatever the nationality.
    If I was a young scotland player I would be more chuffed about qualifying for UEFA U21s or Euros 2012 than playing in the Olympics. This is more difficult than turning up at the Olympics but that would make it seem like you have acheived something.
    If there is GB vs Brazil in Olympics football at the same time as the 400 m swimming I will watch the latter everytime - and this comes from a football fan.

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  • 139. At 11:20am on 01 Jun 2009, Monkeybendeath wrote:

    Team GB is a waste of time, who watches the football on the Olympics, who cares. We have the World cup and European cup for big competitions in football.

    I'm English and I don't want a joint team. I like the banter between the Scots, Welsh and Irish. Agree sometimes it can go over the top. But that the way it goes.

    I also agree with somebody's comment above beware Mr Warner. He has an agenda especially against the English which could have negative effects on the rest of the Home Nations so I agree with there stance.

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  • 140. At 11:28am on 01 Jun 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'Would the English like to see Team GB v the Aussies for the Ashes?'

    Well, it is technically England and Wales already. Plus you occasionally get the odd Scot and Irishman representing England. So its already happenning (apologies to the Irish... I know 3/4s of the island of Ireland is not British, but there is an Irishman fighting his way into the current England squad)!

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  • 141. At 11:38am on 01 Jun 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'This is most bizarre, but obviously sounds very political in the reasoning.

    The team should simply be a Lions side similar to rugby, appoint a totally seperate coach and pick all the best in that coaches opinion.

    But clearly as in football thee is no history to such a side its more difficult.'

    Well there is... the past shows that there has been an English team represent Great Britain and also that until 1972, there were British football sides at the games... people may want to look at this link:

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  • 142. At 12:00pm on 01 Jun 2009, davser wrote:

    "Well, it is technically England and Wales already. Plus you occasionally get the odd Scot and Irishman representing England. So its already happenning (apologies to the Irish... I know 3/4s of the island of Ireland is not British, but there is an Irishman fighting his way into the current England squad)!"

    Indeed, in fact we have Canadians playing for England at football and south africans as captain of England cricket. And English born players playing for SCotland for that matter.

    Question is, would you like to see England national cricketing history ended in favour of a Team GB?

    I'd say most English cricket fans would say not.

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  • 143. At 12:38pm on 01 Jun 2009, Shaun Harvey wrote:

    Comments about Scots being petty are wide of the mark. The English dont care because they basically see England and GB as the same thing. How many English would call for an EU team since we are basically a solid political unit? Im guessing nobody.

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  • 144. At 12:43pm on 01 Jun 2009, cohiba_bear wrote:

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  • 145. At 12:49pm on 01 Jun 2009, SeanieGilbo wrote:

    I am absolutely GOBSMACKED that Scottish, Welsh and Irish fans are against the plan of Team GB through fear of merging the teams permenantly and losing your national identity.... Yet, assuming the English would be okay with this...

    I can not imagine there are any real English football fans that would accept England becoming part of a British side permenantly! We love our national identity just as much as you guys.

    If there was ANY doubt that might happen, i cant believe the FA would back any proposal from day 1.

    And what do you think would happen if FIFA told us thats what they would want to happen... we'd all go along with it? uh, NO! It will never ever EVER happen, even if we played Team GB every four years in the Olympics.

    Oh, and as for for Posh_bouy (no. 33) calling us arrogant, it doesnt make much difference about how good we are or when we last won something. The game was invented in England, Every foreign team loves playing (and beating England), Guus Hiddink called Wembley the "Mecca of world football" on Saturday and Pele once described Wembley as 'Footballs Church', our league is the most popular globally.
    I know you Celts mostly hate us, but the comment that world football couldnt live without England is a fair and probably true statement.

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  • 146. At 12:49pm on 01 Jun 2009, aries22 wrote:

    #2 Spot on.

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  • 147. At 12:51pm on 01 Jun 2009, itsdavehere wrote:

    For all the English people who are critical of our 'nationalistic' reasoning, think of this.
    North of England becomes part of Scotland.
    South of England becomes part of Wales.
    England no longer exists.
    What was that about 'silly' nationalism?

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  • 148. At 12:55pm on 01 Jun 2009, Clint wrote:

    First of all, it seems daft that we all of a sudden need a British Football Olyimpic team. We've never needed one before and I'm pretty sure very few people have watched any previous Olyimpic football and longed for the day a UK team could compete. The fact that it'll be hosted in London means that there seems to be some obligation to put forward a Team GB.

    To all those hilarious wisecrackers making the amusing prediction that Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland shall not be at the 2012 Euros, here's my amusing prediction - England will qualify being full of swagger and confidence that this will finally be the year that "football comes home" and then get knocked out by Romania in the quarter finals.

    And the bit about Messi not being the player he is without having played Olympic football - superbly funny. Players of his ability will always rise to the top no matter what tournaments they have competed in!!

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  • 149. At 1:31pm on 01 Jun 2009, Robert wrote:

    I'm English and I think I can safely say that as a nation we don't want to lose having an English football team. However there aren't many English people complaining about this 'Team GB' as it is for a one-off tournement and it is very unlikely to lead to a united British football team. Maybe we're just not as paranoid.

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  • 150. At 1:59pm on 01 Jun 2009, Andyj247 wrote:

    You know i bet come mid July 2012, nobody is going to give a monkeys who is representing Team GB at Football.

    For what its worth its a shame that on a unique occasion like the Olympics - which may happen once in a lifetime in your own country - we couldnt field a GB team for 16 days. I understand the politics and feelings of the Celtic Nations and i fully support the individual team i dont want a full time GB team - but i have always wondered how a GB side would perform in a tournament and what the side would look like.

    Was it the fact that perhaps it maybe english dominated and may not be fairly selected is part of the thinking or just the fact that the FIFA family would see this as their chance to take a shot at the British nations to force them to have one team or league?

    But if its an all english team than fair enough if the others dont want to be involved. Im happy to support ALL representatives of the GB team and cant wait to get my tickets when they come out.

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  • 151. At 2:11pm on 01 Jun 2009, Rich_Owl wrote:


    Historically England ruled over Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with the English monarch as head of state (as she is now, as head of the UK), and political and infrastructural decisions being made in the English parliament 9as it is now, as the UK parliament). Most English do NOT see England and GBm, although it's easy to understand why. What gets to me as a proud Brit who wants to see the Olympics succeed is the attitude of the SFA, whose spokesman claimed that this problem mainly concerned England as it was Englands Olympics. Surely London is the capital of the UK and the olympics is being overseen by the British Olympic Association, and hence it's also their Olympics?

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  • 152. At 3:38pm on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    Football is an Olympic Sport so FIFA will have close links with the IOC. It dosn't follow that they can force individual FA's to have close links with their national Olympic Asscoation. Most sports are not Olympic Sports and don't have any links what so ever. The SFA have as much right not see the London Olympics as "their" Games as the British Hang gliding Asscociation!

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  • 153. At 3:45pm on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    The feelings of Celtic Nations?
    I'm English and I want to see a seperate English Team going forward. I don't trust FIFA one inch. The toffs who run the English FA are too trusting. Did arm twisting Man U into missing the FA cup to play in Blatters World Club Championship win the bid a few years gone? No!
    The FA know that they will be missed in 2012 by FIFA officials and it will count account against an English bid. They would sell their souls to host the World Cup again. The English FA do no represent the fears and hopes of English Fans's.

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  • 154. At 4:13pm on 01 Jun 2009, Roger_Payne wrote:

    A Great Britain football team has competed in the Olympic Games, including the 1908 Games in London when a gold medal was won by the Great Britain and Ireland team. There is some useful historical information at, which may help give some historical perspective to the current debate.

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  • 155. At 4:13pm on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    The ignorant think their is some kind race called the English and that England exists somehow by right. England is every bit a Political Creation through conquest as the United Kingdom. It really should be called the Wessex Empire, which only lasted a couple of hundred years before it was defeated and became Norman England. Prior to the Norman Invasion many Up North still saw themseleves as Northumbrians etc, or even Viking, hence Harold's problems Up North before Hastings.
    The Norman's even changed our Patron Saint bringing St George with them. So on St George's Day we English are out celebrating Defeat and Servitude to the Norman's. Not quite in the same league as the 4th of July or Bastille Day!

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  • 156. At 4:26pm on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    And FIFA was formed after that date! This whole issue is about FIFA Politics, not the Olympics. The issue of a unified GB FA and has been around four years. The old Soviet Union always claimed they should have multiple teams as they saw no difference between a Union of National Kingdoms and a Union of National Soviets. It's best in this modern era not to give those with a similer view the ammunition. The Olmypics last two weeks (although the Footy lasts three!), loss of seperate FA's could last forever!

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  • 157. At 4:31pm on 01 Jun 2009, posh_bhoy wrote:

    Read the quote, which i found to be arrogant, again.

    "There would not be much appetite in World Football to no longer have an England team."

    No denying England is a mjor player in world football, but to say that the loss of Team England would be as devastating as is suggested in this quote is very arrogant. I'll stand by my point of view. Euro 2008 was fanastic- England were not there.

    And if the FA really believe there is no risk of FIFA back-tracking on this issue, then i would suggest that they are either 1) incredibly naive, or 2) under pressure from the Government to go along with this pointless venture.

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  • 158. At 4:57pm on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    Those in FIFA advocating a GB Team will point out that England will not be missed financially becuase travelling fans would still go to support the GB Team instead. So for other countries it's all win-win. The big countires will still get a well supported team at major tournements, and smaller countries a better chance of qualification. The only loser's are the UK fans' who want to support seperate teams, not GB.

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  • 159. At 5:00pm on 01 Jun 2009, davser wrote:

    The whole reason English FA are doing this is to curry favour in their World Cup bid. @snubbing' the Olympics' as it would have been seen would have sunk their bid without a trace as teh other federations would have pounced on it in an instant

    Anyone who thinks anything else is totally naive.

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  • 160. At 6:57pm on 01 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    One wonders if those who can't see anything wrong have any interest in sport anyway. Is hosting the Olympics just a chance for them to wave the Union Jack? Those horrid Scots pouring cold water on "our" jingoistic party!

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  • 161. At 8:08pm on 01 Jun 2009, Green Soap wrote:

    This just shows how much the EBC Sports Editor knows about Scottish football - very little.

    The Nationalists have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Have you even watched any of the Scottish Internationals in recent years?
    Nearly every game has had VERY prominent banners.
    As far as Scotland is concerned, its the FANS who are the main driving force behind the No Team GB campaign.

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  • 162. At 8:27pm on 01 Jun 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'The ignorant think their is some kind race called the English and that England exists somehow by right. England is every bit a Political Creation through conquest as the United Kingdom.'

    So is Scotland! The geography of what is now Scotland was once kingdoms of the Picts and the Gaels with large chunks further north being Viking land. So SCOTLAND IS EVERY BIT A POLITICAL CREATION THROUGH CONQUEST AS THE UNITED KINGDOM.

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  • 163. At 8:35pm on 01 Jun 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'The Norman's even changed our Patron Saint bringing St George with them. So on St George's Day we English are out celebrating Defeat and Servitude to the Norman's. Not quite in the same league as the 4th of July or Bastille Day!'

    No nation has a single identity. You could easily argue that many modern English are indeed celebrating victory as no doubt many millions have Norman heritage.

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  • 164. At 11:42pm on 01 Jun 2009, thesecretalchemist wrote:

    Worst case scenario? The fielding of a Team GB at the Olympics leads to an irresistable groundswell among FIFA members against separate membership for the Home Nations, leading to the collapsing of the four international teams into one United Kingdom team. Reluctantly, a UK FA is formed. The team plays in the colours of the Union Jack, red, white and blue - with white predominating. The manager is Italian.

    Initially, the new UK FA decides to rotate home games, but death threats to Glasgow Celtic FC players in Belfast, the booing of the national anthem at Hampden, and protests in the stands by Welsh Nationalists at the Millenium Stadium means games come to be played exclusively at Wembley.

    The odd Scot, Irishman or Welshman makes it into the team, but it is dominated by English players, who routinely call it 'England,' as do the media, politicians, supporters, opposition, etc. The supporters who turn up at Wembley do so with Union Jacks instead of St. George's crosses, not so much a radical change as merely a return to the flag-flying habits of their grandfathers.

    And after a generation, no one really remembers what all the fuss was about. No one south of Watford, anyway...

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  • 165. At 3:12pm on 02 Jun 2009, jer1956 wrote:

    We English are not good at seperating being English from being British. Asked to define either a similer list would be created. The Scot's would never desribe the Highland Games as a British Sporting Event. (The Hghlanders probably wouldn't desribe it as Scottish either). Yet we English will desribe Royal Ascot as British, although the whole idea seems pretty alien to many English north of Watford, never mind the rest of Britain. So England, or GB? Let's just follow Cricket and have a GB team called England who will use any GB player if it improves the team! Or does the attitude of the Cricket authorities examplfy exactly my point?

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  • 166. At 07:38am on 03 Jun 2009, godisaboy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 167. At 09:40am on 04 Jun 2009, dwmacleod wrote:

    As usual, Mihir doesn't seem to want to reply to any comments made on his blog.

    Don't know why it's set up as a blog, he should just write articles if he's not prepared to have any interaction.

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  • 168. At 10:55pm on 20 Jul 2009, NomadEFC wrote:

    I really hope all these Scots, Welsh and Irish folks frothing at the mouth at a Team GB footballing entity will shut their eyes over every single Olympics from here on in. GB IS an entity within the Olympics, always has been, always will be. Isnt it great, that for 2 weeks we can all stop childish, petty insults and just support the men and women of these islands??

    Apparently not.

    So please, all go stick your heads in the sand, just like your FA's have done over this issue, over the two weeks of the Olympics, while I get the Union Flag out and wave it proudly in support of ALL our athletes.

    On the other hand though, even if all 4 FAs had agreed, the team would have still consisted of 11 Englishmen...

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  • 169. At 00:26am on 06 Aug 2009, Git-intae-thum wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 170. At 00:37am on 06 Aug 2009, Git-intae-thum wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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