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Olympic announcement brings old row to life

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Gordon Farquhar | 17:42 UK time, Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The indignant response from the Scottish and Welsh football associations to the announcement of Great Britain football teams for the 2012 Olympic Games cannot have come as any surprise to the British Olympic Association.

The other home nations outside England have long made clear their implacable opposition to the idea of a joint team, and they are clearly finding the language used by the BOA in making the announcement provocative.

They insist there is no new agreement, no falling in line. This row has been festering for years.

It is founded on the basic belief that if the home footballing nations rally behind the Union flag for the Olympics, then world governing body Fifa may well in time, perhaps not in the next few years but eventually, decide to make the joint team a permanent fixture.

That is too great a risk, argue Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, irrespective of the repeated assurances from Fifa that participation in a joint Olympic team will have no bearing on their national autonomies.

They did however concede to England, some considerable time ago, the right to form a GB team, as long as they didn't have to take any part in it. In that respect nothing has changed.

What has stirred things up is the BOA's claims of a "historic agreement" having been reached, and of the announcement of a non-discriminatory selection policy that leaves the English FA free to pick, in line with that objective selection criteria, any player from these isles.

That is all good theory. Of course, discrimination doesn't fit with Olympic values, so the policy, where written, will have to reflect that.

The practise however is likely to be very different. Will the FA risk a row with their neighbours in picking Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish players in their 18-man and 18-woman squads? If so, will those players agree to play?

They don't have to, and they will scarcely be unaware of the stance of their own FAs over the undesirability of a unified team.

Many people believe it would be absurd not to have a GB football team at a home Games, and the way has been cleared for that to happen.

Just don't expect too many Celtic accents in the post-match interviews.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm Scottish and would love to see our players join the GB team. All my friends I have spoken too feel the same way also.

  • Comment number 3.

    It will be interesting to see what happens. Gareth Bale & Aaron Ramsay are both on record as saying they'd like to play. I can understand why thay are keen. Let's be honest Wales aren't going to qualify for a major championship anytime soon so this could be their one & only chance to play on a big international stage and let's hope politics doesn't destroy that.

  • Comment number 4.

    Forest_Fever wrote:

    Scottish Welsh et al should all grow up. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. They should be gratefull they will have some of their players in the team at all.

    Scotland is not subsidised by England my friend, the sooner you come to terms with this fact the better it will be for all of us. England is not GB and if the other nations don't wanna play, then it's game over for a GB team.

  • Comment number 5.

    Couple of things, there is no chance that the home nations would be forced to have one team due to this. What they are concerned about is the political possibility of the favoured positions the home nations have in being able to appoint a vice president to FIFA on a rotational basis being threatened, which to be honest is something that should be looked at anyway bearing in mind it is an anachronism from years and years ago.

    There's no way that FIFA would want to see the home nations disappear when they allow the likes of Lichenstein, the Faroes and Andorra play.

    This is all about blazers, politics and power, not merging football teams.

    The reality is that the BOA will reach beyond the national associations and invite players who will be able to say "yes" or "no" probably with the Irish, Welsh and Scottish FAs putting their players under pressure to refuse using this risible "threat" of extinction.

  • Comment number 6.

    As if any Scottish players would get in anyway! Bale and Ramsay would, certainly no northern irish players either.

  • Comment number 7.

    Typical small mindedness on the part of the welsh, scots and nothern irish. The irony is, how many English born players already represent these nations. They're barely competitive now - play without the likes of those players who qualify via a second cousin who once holidayed in their nation - where would they be?

    This is against the spirit of the games, but am I shocked by their national associations, am I heck.

  • Comment number 8.

    On the other hand, the Union is weaker today than ever, and only likely too get worse until there is an english parliament.
    I find it hard enough too support a GB team, the thought of a GB football team is awful.

  • Comment number 9.

    A GB team seems fine, as long as Fifa keep to their word about not forcing a merge of nations. Which I cannot see happening. It would be interesting to see how they would compete as a team together. Maybe having some players from other nations would inject some impetus into England's usually disappointing play.

    The players should accept if invited and if they want to play, as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Also lets face it their respective FA's don't exactly wield much power over them, its not as if they will be banned from the national team for playing in the Olympics.

  • Comment number 10.

    OMG! Like many, many other things in the UK today, this controversy about the GB Olympic football team must be the most unnecessary, energy-sapping, time-wasting, media-fuelled & mind-numbing non-issue of London 2012. Do the 4 FAs and BOA have no other more pressing and more important issue or issues to deal with? Team GB has not fielded a GB football team at the Olympics for very long time. But just because the Games are in London, suddenly GB "needs" to be enter a team? Why?
    OTOH, why can't the 4 FAs, just see London 2012 as a one-off and stop trying to compete with EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street for the No. 1 soap drama?
    Most people should have switched off from this, the biggest non-issue of ALL TIME and still they go on and on, no doubt constantly egged on by the stupid 24hr media who need to fill their airwaves and newspaper column inches. And if people haven't switched off, more fool them.
    There must be billions of people outside the UK, including a few of the top-brass at IOC, FIFA, UEFA etc. who must be laughing their heads off collectively at the UK. I know I am.
    GROW UP !!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    No TeamGB.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm not a football follower, preferring the other ball shape, but it seems to me that the BOA are determined to field a team regardless. The other home nations have given their consent to this as long as they are not involved.
    BOA and English FA statements smack of total arrogance and they should publish a withdrawal immediately.

  • Comment number 13.

    if it happens, it happens! if it dont, then it doesnt :) now please will the media give it a rest, if the welsh, irish and scottish dont wanna be apart of it then they dont, its just like every english person is moaning because they know that the gb team will really be an english team, with the young stars and some experianced players, and from what i seen in the euro U21's and recent england games, i can tell you the gb team has no chance of winning a medal :)

  • Comment number 14.

    This is not historic, but is re-establishing the situation which existed until the UK gave up the concept of amateur football at a time when the Olympics still insisted on amateur status.

    I well remember watching Great Britain play (and lose) to Spain in an Olympic qualifying match at the White City in 1968. No harm was done to the status of the participating parts of the UK then, nor should it now.

  • Comment number 15.

    FA or EFA or BFA???
    It is very clear that the Irish, Scottish and Welsh FAs and their supporters organisations want nothing, rien, zilch to do with this.
    Not only does Westminster ride roughshod over Scottish and Welsh interests - looks as if Wembley acts the same way.
    Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are very happy for there to be an Engerlander team that gets "badged" as British.
    We've managed over 50 years without this nonsense being foisted upon us.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 16.

    i don't see what the problem is no one is saying that they have to now have a GB team for everything, its just one Olympic not for everything else i know what they are worried about, but they need to grow up

  • Comment number 17.

    Professional sport that has other competitions as good, if not better than the Olympics, such as golf and football, should not be included in the Olympics. Even if you think football should be at the Olympics, I think it is a waste of time entering a team. England, who will have most of the players in the under-23 competition, can't even win a game in a European under 21 competition, so how are they going to go further in this competition against great teams from South America, Africa and Asia.

  • Comment number 18.

    The Welsh are funny their best two teams are in the English football League!

  • Comment number 19.

    Why the hell have a GB team? Each of the four countries should field their teams; the Games would be a perefect apprenticeship for their upcoming players. If you want to go further ............why not a Team Europe ????????????

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree with Post 5, the other home nations are worried about their stature inside the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and not team GB being a permanent fixture, which realisticly would never happen. Why i havent seen this FACT being talked about in the media I dont know. Would someone please put this to the other FA's???

  • Comment number 21.

    Does anyone really care? Since the Olympics went "pro", the whole thing has been totally devalued. Look at tennis, what a joke. As an amateur football competition, the Olympics made some sense- it was the World Cup for amateurs. As a competition for professionals, it makes no sense at all. Olympic snooker, anyone?

  • Comment number 22.

    You can understand how the Football Associations in Scotland, Wales and N.I are concerned about how Fifa might view their 'independence' in the future, especially since the English FA is certainly not 'flavour of the month' with Messr Blatter at the moment.
    However if we look at things from the players standpoint, in the past a number of players from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, who were recognised as being 'world class' (Best, Giggs, etc) never really had much chance to play in the final stages of a World Cup competition, let alone have a chance of winning a medal in such competitions.
    Presumably those who are pushing the idea of a Team GB (that draws on all 4 nationalities) are hoping that present day players who fall into that category, e.g. Bale, Ramsey, etc, will be tempted to participate, as it is the only chance they are ever likely to get to play in and possibly win, a World football competition. Surely the FA's in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, would not want prevent such opportunities being made available to their 'star' players?

  • Comment number 23.

    One thing that doesn't seem to have been mentioned through all this olympic debate is that the EURO 2012 tournament immediately proceeds the olympic tournament. Should England qualify for EURO 2012 I can't imagine that club managers are going to be greatly enthused at the thought of their players playing a full season followed by 2 summer tournaments. I'm thinking about the likes of Jack Wilshere, Jordan Hendersen, Phil Jones, Andy Carroll who all have a good chance of making an England squad for the Euro 2012 as well as a GB u23 team. So it may be that the Welsh, Scots, and Northern Irish may make up a larger proportion of the GB squad that alot of people envisage, because I can certainly see a situation where Messers Wenger and Ferguson may make their players choose between playing the Euro's or the Olympics.

  • Comment number 24.

    I think we all know the Team GB football team will end up being a shambles. We will end up bringing in overage players who shouldn't be in the team such as Beckham, and if we do get the home unions on board we will end up having to pick players from each country to keep them happy, whereas in reality the only young non english players that probably warrant a place are Bale and Ramsey from Wales. It's also very unlikely that the very best under 23 english plsyers will play as they will play at the European chgampionships if we qualify and it is unreasonable to expect them to play both tournaments. You will also find clubs reluctant to release their players for the tournament as the football season starts immediately after the olympics and therefore wouldn't want to risk their best players.

  • Comment number 25.

    Contrary to what Graham Smith thinks the likelihood of Scotland, Wales and N Ireland, losing their status in FIFA is all too real. The fact that it England are quite willing to ignore that fact for their own ends is disgraceful, the FA should remember that the only nation to stand alongside them in their attempt to halt Blatters election was the SFA. The FA are well aware that neither the SFA nor the vast majority of the Scottish people want this and yet still they pursue the point purely for their own ideals. The BOC, that B is a laugh for a start, announce there has been an "historic agreement" yet Scotland, Wales, and N Ireland deny ever having spoken to them never mind reaching any agreement. Who is lying here?
    Given that all three FA's have got together released a statement and signed their names to it, I can make a better than educated guess.

  • Comment number 26.

    So Swansea playing in the Premier League and a number of other Welsh clubs playing in the English Football League has not affected the independence of the Welsh Football association but a GB team in the Olynpics will?


  • Comment number 27.

    Why dont the FA's and BOA's stop bickering and ask the fans what they want. I would personally love to see a GB compete! I love England and will continue to support my country through World Cups and European Comps but for the olympics a GB should always take part!

  • Comment number 28.

    Funny how the majority of the posters who want a TeamGB and can't see what the fuss is about come from the largest, and least to lose Nation of the United Kingdom.....

  • Comment number 29.

    I am an Englishman living in Scotland for over 20 years and if I go by every conversation I have ever had with Scots on this subject or if you listen/watch a lot of Scottish media then this matter is very easy to understand...

    The Scots don't want to play alongside the English because they're English!

    It's the same age old nonsense regarding the "auld enemy" of England and no matter how the SFA dresses up their disapproval of Team GB it still comes down to the fact they simply don't like the English.

    Remember, this is the place which has a top radio station which did a parody of the "3 Lions" song with the new title "3 Lions in the dirt". This title was then emblazoned across the tabloid Scottish media (yes, front page news!) as the Scottish media (TV and papers) poured ridicule on England's hopes.

    Now, I'm not asking you to comment on whether that was a good thing or a bad thing ...but it doesn't sound that friendly to the English now does it!

    As for Wales and NI... I'll let someone else talk about their views ...but you never know it could be just the same thing.

    And my personal view on Team GB: Wales, NI and Scotland should just get over it and help create a squad that will kick butt at the Olympics. But sadly I don't think that will ever happen.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Scottish Welsh et al should all grow up. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. They should be gratefull they will have some of their players in the team at all." - Forrest_Fever

    Hand that feeds us? from that i assume you mean that England looks after us financially and we owe you something - you country took over our countries, we never asked for it and it's historical/present fact you have raped our countries of their welath and natural resources, if you now have to pay more than you get from us it's your own doing.

    Gratefull? to have token players in the mighty English team?..............I'm not even going to start with why that's inciting and degrading.

    Unfortunately the comments of Forrest are the belief of many top to bottom within England, FA , goverment, day-to-day life..................This is why the Union will fall under increasing resentment at an arrogance and inequality shown to us.

    I am a Unionist but I conceed the stance of sector of English people is indefensible as it is also large.

    We'll all be weaker without each other - but it's going to happen before the majoraty see it.

  • Comment number 31.

    How many members of the Tartan Army? Go look it up
    How many joints to we travel to?
    How respected are we?
    How much fun do we and our hosts have wherever we go?

    Go on do an opinion poll I dare you.

    Nuff said

  • Comment number 32.

    Well, who would get into the team?

    Only 3 over 23's, and the manager would obviously pick Rooney because he's the darling of the country.

    Bale and Ramsey would get into the side.

    I can't see any other players getting in from the other nations though, except for maybe another u-23 goalkeeper.

    I would say ROONEY, HART and GERRARD/LAMPARD will be the over 23's, with WILSHERE being the key player of the campaign.

    Of course, with Euro 2012 in the same year, this is all hypothetical and probably won't happen. If I were the manager, I would try and make the 3 over 23's GIGGS SCHOLES and BECKHAM (I'm an arsenal fan lol) and make them the leaders of a young side. We could actually win a tournament.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think the BOA statement is wrong: there is no historic agreement with any association other than the English FA.

    Have England learned nothing from their failed WC bid and the aftermath about the credibility of FIFA?

    I hear ticket sales for Hampden in the Olympics are very 'weak'. How about practically non-existent.

  • Comment number 34.

    @1 - Awa' an' bile yer heid.

    The SFA have made it clear they will not support, endorse or otherwise encourage the formation of Team GB. A stance supported by the Association of Tartan Army Supporters' Clubs (of which I am a proud member) and the Scottish Government. We don't need the scraps off your table, thanks.

    @2 - I know of not one Scot who supports the idea of Scottish players in Team GB. You and your friends are clearly not Tartan Army members.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ Forest_Fever - Why should they be greatful? Explain

  • Comment number 36.

    Despite England's failure to even reach a final since 1966, the truth is that there would be precious few Welsh, Northern Irish or Scottish players who would be good enough to earn a place in a starting line up in a GB team. However, the worry would be that, if it happens, there would be some "positive discrimination" & a guarantee of players from each country playing for Team GB. That is a strong reason not to allow your country to join in this tournament anyway.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am not a fan of 'Great Britain' as an Olympic team at all. In my opinion every nation should have it's own team. Why should a scots man be playing alongside an Englishman, or a Welshman beside an Irishman? Doesn't make sense. You would see an American playing alonside a Canadian!!

  • Comment number 38.

    I came up with what could be a workable solution a few years ago, which could get the separate home teams into the Olympics without causing so much of a fuss.

    The home nations already compete in the biannual european under-21 championships which serve as the Olympic qualification process. The top 3 in the tournament qualify for the Olympics. Say England and Scotland reach the 3rd place play-off and Scotland won. Why couldn't Scotland then do what England are likely to do at the 2012 Olympics and field a GB team made up solely of Scottish players?

    If England were runners-up and Scotland came third, they could have a play-off like they do now whenever a home nation finishes in the qualifying spots (see the 2007 tournament). This way the home nations aren't barred from the Olympics and there isn't a fuss over footballing identity.

  • Comment number 39.

    Ah, the imperial majesty of the English strikes again. Allow me to bow down low before you all in your pomp as you ride roughshod all over us again.

  • Comment number 40.

    Iam scottish proud & of it . I Dont want a GB Team this will just give FIFA ,UEFA The chance to make it a GB Team for world cups etc & I wouldnt go & watch that I am a member Tartan Army I go home & away . And eveyone I know all agree we dont want GB Team .AS for Forest Fever if it wasnt for Scot s Welsh Irish Forest would never had won European cups etc back then .

  • Comment number 41.

    How does this in anyway affect the identity of the home nations when MOST sports we play as GB? I want football to remain separate but for the Olympics why is it such a big deal? The best players from each home nation has spoken out how they want to play, so let's hope they do and politics doesn't prevent them from representing the whole of GB.

  • Comment number 42.

    I find it hard to believe that no-one, be they bloggers, people such as us posting comments, journalists or sportsmen seems to have mentioned the sports of Rugby League and Rugby Union.

    In both of these, which have world cups and governing bodies of their own, The home nations have their own team and a British Isles team. The Lions Union team tours every four years - and has done without interruption since well before the last time a GB team competed at football at the olympics - without the slightest suggestion that the individual nation's unions or teams will be threatened, never mind disbanded. Given that they have been forming this ad hoc side for decades, why do the Scottish, Irish and Welsh FAs think that doing it once for a home olympics will spell the end for them? This seems a logically unsupportable argument from them.

    And as for whether the players would want to play with the English - they already do so in the Premiership and Championship, and just ask a few Irish, Scots or Welsh rugby players if they would like to go on a Lions tour with some English players. I haven't actually canvassed any, but I suspect the answer would be a unanimous 'Yes'.

  • Comment number 43.

    The SFA oppose it. The Tartan Army (Basically the Tourist wing of the SNP) oppose it. The Scottish people do not oppose it. The players do not oppose it Ignore the loudest voices. Press ahead. In particular for the sake of the women's team.

  • Comment number 44.

    Its about time Scotland competed as a seperate country in all Olympic games events. The concept of "British" sports teams has past its sell by date in these post devolution times.

  • Comment number 45.

    The Scots, Welsh and N.Irish FA's do NOT want to particpate as Team GB in the football tournament for their own proper reasons. FIFA is not to be trusted. End of story.
    Tennis, Golf and Football are only in the Olympics because the IOC are drawn to the MONEY of the professional game. By all means have them there but only in an under 21 format.
    As for London everyone is happy enough to have Team GB made up of only English players.The BOA have just given the keyboard warriors another stick to hit the Scots, Welsh and N.Irish with.

  • Comment number 46.

    How come all other sports within the UK can unite as one team when required, but the overpaid prima donnas of professional football believe that they are above this? You never hear the home nations complaining when they have fewer players in the British & Irish Lions squad or team, or complaints that there are too many Irishmen in the Ryder Cup team. If a player is good enough he should be in the squad & not in the squad because the quota for his country hasn’t yet been reached. Grow up football try acting like men for a change.

  • Comment number 47.

    I suppose we can look forward to the spectacle of the Scottish fans booing the GB team and supporting Argentina or Germany (like they did at Euro 96)...

  • Comment number 48.

    The arrogance of the English FA is typical of a nation that rides roughshod over its neighbours. The Scottish FA should withdraw Hampden as a football venue and let the English FA pick whoever they like. No Scotsman will want to play for an English Olympic team masquerading as British. Sepp Blatter will be delighted to question the continued existence and autonomy of the Home nations once the Olympics are over. All this to give David Beckham a walk on part and put bums on seats.

  • Comment number 49.

    @ Often, if we're 'such a racist bunch' why are you still up here? If you don't like it you know where to go.

    I don't think it's a case of 'not liking' it's an identity thing. You know well fine that there is English vs Scottish 'banter'
    Things like English people getting upset when Andy Murray said he wasn't supporting England in the world cup is beyond belief! You don't see Poland cheering on Germany do you? So why should we have to support you lot just because we're not there?

    Can't eblieve I'm saying this but i agree with a Rangers man, Preacher is right, no one in the UK has had a say in how the countries within Britain are governed or as to why there is still a Union. Hopefully this referendum is passed and we'll see who is 'subsidising' who.

  • Comment number 50.

    It's abundantly clear that only the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish have any strong opinions on this at all. Most English folks expressing an opinion seem to be in general favour of a GB football team but don't seem to attach the same significance to such a thing as the other FA's are to their decision to refuse.

    I don't care about 'national identity' I'd just prefer to have a team to support in a sport I actually enjoy watching at the Olympics - I suspect many of the players who may be involved would feel the same but will be forced to act in line with the wishes of their respective FAs.

    All parties should, as Post no. 1 says, grow up.

  • Comment number 51.

    there is only one national team for me and that is scotland, the ranting of English racism is all i need to see why a GB team is affront, and those who who claim to be Scots here who don't mind the idea must share those values. all i need to know is that outside of the russian world cup bid only England submitted a exclusive one nation bid, world champions spain did a joint bid with neighbors Portugal, Holland did the same with Belgium. but Scotlands great friends in England could not bring them self even to do a joint bit with nations they share a head of state with. thats all i need to know.

  • Comment number 52.

    Football shouldn't be a part of the Olympics anyway, but this whole debate is moronic beyond belief. As #42 pointed out, rugby has been doing this for years and nobody minds. And more importantly, nobody cares. Just let the players decide if they want to be involved. Politics and sport don't mix.

  • Comment number 53.

    Having spent more than half of my life living outside England, I am constantly bemused by the confusion that arises when talking about England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. It must be one of the few areas of the world that has this problem, and I believe the way forward is a clear distinction of sovereign values. It might be of interest to know that the French, for example, lump us all together as 'les anglais' anyway. The same applies to the Germans, with 'die Englaender'. The Spanish call everyone North of the Channel, 'inglès'. Oddly enough, in those drop-down boxes in computer forms, we are suddenly all UK folk. The Union Jack is used interchangeably with the George Cross. I personally use the word 'British' when asked of my nationality. So how to solve all this seems to me quite simple: in sport, we all adopt a nationalistic approach: we have England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland teams and the bloated decentralised burocracies that goe with them. That way, all the fat cats are happy and we can get on with it.

  • Comment number 54.

    To Bob

    Swansea will celebrate 100 years in the league in 2012, so why the fuss now.

    In an ideal world, there would be a British team at the Olympics, but given that Blatter and his cronies run world football, there is the danger of abandoning the separate identities of the home Nations, are the Olympics really wroth that.

    As for the Rugby Union, the British Lions does work well, but there are accepted, the same cannot be said of a British team in football alas.

    Personally i would be happy to see the "English" team do well at the Olympics, more golds for Team GB.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm a Scot and will be supporting the GB & NI team in all other sports, but don't think that there should be a team GB in football.

    I find it amazing that, given all of the recent publicity, scandal, blogs and phone-ins that people now trust FIFA. There is much more at stake for FIFA elsewhere in the football World to want to keep the status quo, written agreement or not, and this will be used by others to push forward change.

    I suggest that anyone who thinks otherwise is, to put it mildly, naive.

  • Comment number 56.

    Don't forget that a UK Rugby 7s team will be needed for the Rio Olympics...

  • Comment number 57.

    It doesn't mean anyting to England because without doubt 'GB' is considered just England! The yanks, aussies all use 'Brits' to describe sporting events involving England in the ashes and rugby when - HELLO!? it is individual cuntries and being a 'Brit' does not constitute to being only English.

    I don't support England in any sporting event. 'Why' is the question being asked by the people wo think I am being 'racist' or anti-English but you know what? I support Scotland. I don' support england or anyone else for that matter no matter if we're in a competition or not.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think it's absolutely ridiculous and ignorant of Wales, Scotland and NI associations in wanting to deny their players to take part in something which is creating a history and legacy. It's an opportunity of a lifetime and will also give their players great uplift to perform even better in the future and get those teams back in major competitions.

  • Comment number 59.

    How precious and petty can the Scottish and Welsh FA's be? i would like to think that such small minded ultra nationalistic behavoiur will only fester in the administrators of the game and not the players themselves. How can one have anything but pride for a team drawn from all 4 countries that is truly representative of the UK's history and background.

  • Comment number 60.

    Under investigation again!?

    Noticed a lot of pro-Scottish comments being removed or 'investigated'

    Perhaps it is not the 'Scots' that are ahem - 'racist'?

  • Comment number 61.

    The British & Irish Lions are an established concept and do not have a world governing body which would like to see that established on a permanent basis, football on the other hand has FIFA, which has had in the past proposed this for a number of reasons. Putting your independence even potentially on the line (by setting a precedent in the modern era) for a single U 23 tournament quite frankly isn't worth the risk. Support the GB team in sports where that has been the traditional representation i.e. Athletics. In all of this, if the worst did ever come to fruition, do those that care about international football not realise it wouldn't only be the end of an independent Scotland, Wales or N.I. team, but also an independent England team? Given the political state of the UK it may not last for too long as we may all become independent states in the future but until that point we could all play under the Union flag, does that sound appealing to any of the home nations fans?

  • Comment number 62.

    Lets get one thing straight. Team GB has never been keen to have a team in the olympics up until now. Infact the whole idea of football in the olympics is nothing short of a joke anyhow. Im all in favour of a team being represented by all english players but if the SFA, Welsh FA and Irish FA dont want to take part so be it. They are only looking out for their nationality and rightly so.. Who's to say FIFA couldnt turn round in a few years and say the four home nations played under one team at the olympics so they can do from now on. Was there the same level of commitment for a Team GB team at the last olympics or the one before that... i dont think so

  • Comment number 63.

    I dont get why the other FAs are set against it so much...They wont lose their vote and FIFA wont lump us all in as one FA in the future.

    Fine, if the Scots, Welsh and Irish dont want to play thats cool...Send an all English squad. We dont worry too much if the 4 x 100m team has no Scots etc in it or if the hockey team is without an Irishman.

    Not only is it against the Olympic spirit to deny an athlete the chance to compete, I dont see any of the home nations apart from England qualifying for anything in the near future. This may be the only chance that some players get to play in a big international tournament.

    I am sure the likes of Best, Brady and Giggs et al would have loved to have had the chance.....

  • Comment number 64.

    FIFA have every right to insist that we, as a nation, play as a nation.

    We have some neck to claim we should have four international spots at Euro's and World Cups. What next?? Seperate Spain, Catalan and Basque X1's??

    That's by the by though.

    I don't see the point of pro football at the Olympics. I see even less point in caring what Scots, Welshies and Northern Irish FA's say or do.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'm Scottish and I'll play for team GB, if selected of course! Ha ha! Actually my grandfather was English, so I may qualify to play anyway!

    I'll support team GB in the sailing, swimming, rowing and hockey....and I'll have no problem supporting team GB in the football either. The problem is - I don't particularly like footballers and their celebrity, decadent lifestyles.

    Can we really hold John Terry or Wayne Rooney in the same regard as great Olympians such as Sir Steve Redgrave or Matthew Pincent?

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    First of all, who cares about Olympic football - we will all be watching/caring about the Euros in 2012 and this event will hopefully be relegated to the minor columns in newspapers etc.

    Secondly, just let the English players go ahead with this team and accept that the majority of Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish people/players/bigwigs do not want to get involved. The more this issue drags on, the more damage it does to the independence of each of the home nations football teams.

    Is a complete non-event and exhibition like tournament really worth even remotely putting the home nations independence at risk? Absolutely not. End this discussion already.

  • Comment number 68.

    Iv had a Wales season ticket for about 10 years now

    Yes its painfull knowing we only ever get even close to qualifying about once every 10-15 years (Romania 1993. Russia 2003 for example)

    The point is though, if we did qualify, imagine how great it would be for me and the other Welsh fans who have followed the team through all the bad times. It would be amazing for us

    I love wearing my Welsh top at Wales games and singing the Welsh national anthem

    Its called identity. Its called pride. Its called supporting your team even though they are rubbish

    Do you honestly think me going to a football match in a GB top, singing God save the Queen and watching a team with hardly any Welshman in is going to give me pride?

    Team GB means NOTHING to us. They could win the Olympics and go on to compete in and win the Euros and World Cup for all I care

    No to Team GB and well done to all the FAs opposed to this horrible idea which threatens the future of the ALL the home nations

  • Comment number 69.

    What is all the fuss about?? Which Scottish/Irish/Welsh player(s) will get to the team anyway? G Bale aside I can't see any player from the above nations make the squad. So basically the whole thing wouldn't concern Scotts and Irish!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Just out of interest, why are the Celts afraid FIFA will merge the home nations? What benefit is that to FIFA? If San Marino and the Faroe Islands are allowed to participate why would FIFA give a damn about Scotland, Wales and NI?

  • Comment number 71.

    To post no 51.....

    Why do most Scots hate the English? Yes we overrate our players, teams and countries but so do a lot of nations.

    What are you smoking? Are you saying Scotland shouldnt join a GB team because England tried to get the World Cup as a single nation? Well, Scotland have exactly the same rights as England, why didnt they submit a bid? How about a joint bid with say Ireland or Wales?

    Its strange how you talk about "the rantings of English Racism" but I have never met a Scot yet that shouted for an English victory. In fact, most of the Scottish people I have met say the support 2 teams, Scotland and whoever is playing England. Yet I have been in pubs full of English supporters shouting for Scottish victories.....go figure

  • Comment number 72.

    Some of the posts on here show exactly why the other home nations want nothing to do with a team GB. Forrest_Fever (post 1) clearly believes that the squad would consist of only English players anyway as does Igglez (post 2).

    SwollenNoodle (post 9) seems to think that the object of the debate is to improve the footbal thus far provided byENGLAND and not about a Team GB.

    DavidT (post 23) has already written off Scotlands chances of qualifying for Euro 2012 so he thinks Scotland, Wales and NI would be better represented at the Olympics, but only IF England fail to qualify.

    All of the above just prove to the rest of us just how arrogant and self-rightous the English footballing fans really are. It's little wonder the other Home Nation FA's are fuming when the English FA simply ignore everyone else and decide they ARE Team GB.

  • Comment number 73.

    Wonder if some would be able to clarify if FAW/SFA/IFA are able to legally stop players registered in with themselves playing under a BOA team? And if they stopped them (and were not legally backed up to do so), would that constitute a restraint of trade for which they could be sued?

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    If Bale and Ramsay play for team GB they should be BANNED for life by the Welsh FA from playing for Wales .

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm English and would only want a team of Englishman. 'In Englands Green and Pleasant land'.


    Cardiff and Glasgow relinquish their games. Give them to English stadiums.

    Cardiff City and Swansea City join the Welsh football league. Be like the Old Firm and the worst they'd finish is 2nd. Not forgetting the 4 other Welsh teams. Reading could be in the Premiership next year, two BSP teams promoted to the Football League and two English teams allowed to take part in their own FA Cup competition (and two English team in the CC etc). Very unfair that Cardiff got to the final in 2008! England would have their own full league.

    The Old Firm and particularly Craig Brown can stop bleating on about Celtic and Rangers being in the Premiership. Not very Scottish joining an English league.

    Scottish, Welsh and NI players stop considering themselves 'home-grown' players when playing in England because that shows they consider themselves British!

  • Comment number 77.

    You have the Olympics in which GB competes, for this I believe that there should be allowed a GB team to compete in the football event. The Commonwealth Games has the home nations competing separately and should a football event be set up then home nations compete separately.

    FIFA and Politicians should be kept well clear of both events. Actually, it would be better if FIFA and Politicians were kept well away from football altogether given the mess they get themselves in to.

    As others have pointed out, there is no issue over British & Irish Lions playing as one side. It may be interesting how they sort out the 7's event in Rio given the Irish rugby team is a united Ireland & Northern Ireland side but GB and Ireland compete as separate nations in the Olympics...still...they'll manage, and I am sure with a lot less fuss than is generated by the football associations.

  • Comment number 78.

    #74 You should meet more people

  • Comment number 79.

    It is not just Blatter that the 'Celtic' FA's don't trust. For years, African, Asian and South American Football Federations have commented unfavourably about 'One Passport - Four Nations'. It wasn't too long ago that there was a motion before FIFA regarding the separate identities of the Home Nations.
    Of course we are now in the, what if situation. Basically, all home nations agree to let players be selected and then in Autumn 2012, FIFA decides to ignore the 'guarantee' of footballing sovereignty. Of course, the FA would be quite happy to administer a single Team GB in all football competitions as, as some posters have stated, there would be very few non-English players selected and they would be able to interchange England and GB as required. Then the only option open to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland would be to secede from the Union and apply to UEFA/FIFA as independent states.

    Concerning other sports, let's just say that their governing bodies are a bit more enlightened than FIFA.

  • Comment number 80.

    There...there. You'll just have to hope the matches don't go to penalties.

  • Comment number 81.

    Im Welsh and I dont hate the English or their football team. To hate something you need to care about it and I dont care. The same way I dont care for for a GB football team. I dont want to be involved with England or NI the same way they wouldnt want to be involved with Germany or France. Its that simple

  • Comment number 82.

    Post 47. At 19:48 21st Jun 2011, David wrote:

    "I suppose we can look forward to the spectacle of the Scottish fans booing the GB team and supporting Argentina or Germany (like they did at Euro 96)..."

    I don't recall a GB Team at Euro 96..??? Oh no, you mean England. But then of course you ARE GB aren't you??

  • Comment number 83.

    No 71, the most racist people I've met are Scots to the English. That chip on the shoulder is huge. Too many Scots have an opinion on the English. I don't know any English who have an opinion on Scotland.


    You express an opinion on Scotland but you don't know anyone who has an opinion on Scotland?

    My you really are confused!

  • Comment number 84.

    I am English first and British second. If there is no England team then I support a GB team. I dont care if they are all Scots, Welsh, Irish or a mix. I cheered on the Curlers several years ago and they were Scottish, same for Chris Hoy. I cheered Colin Jackson, Liz McColgan, even Alan Wells 30+ years ago.

    None of the above are English but they wore the GB colours and I wanted them to win. Outside of watching the curlers win the gold medal, I didnt care or even know about the sport but suddenly it mattered.

    Unless any of the home nations are playing England, I want them to win. Why would I shout for France or Finland over our neighbours in Ireland? Why would I want the Dutch or Serbia to beat Scotland? I even want Wales to finish 2nd in our current Euro 2012 group.

    You dont have to like a sport for you to want YOUR team to do well. If an Irish, Scots, or Welsh person is wearing a Team GB top and you are from one of them countries, then he is representing YOUR team.

  • Comment number 85.

    Why does everyone compare this to the British and Irish Lions?

    It is nothing alike. The Lions tours are a few exhibition internationals every four years that the IRB do not stop beause the four nations are in the top echelons and brings prestige to the game.

    In the Olympics it is run by FIFA, the GB&NI have no pull whatsoever in the main body but are seen as having too much say by everyone else so FIFA would jump at the chance to merge them.

    The only reason the English don't care is because they know that the FA will take over and that they'll get VCraig Gordon and Gareth Bale sorting out their Goalkeeping and Left Wing problems finally.

  • Comment number 86.

    firstly the welsh teams where invited to join the FOOTBALL LEAGUE not the english league and secondly if we where to compete as Team GB does any of you seriously think that if we where to win the tournament (heaven forbid) that the pro british brigade wouldnt be calling the very next day for a permanent Team GB IN PLACE OF MIGHTY ENGLAND and the rest of us peasants

  • Comment number 87.

    God forbid the irrelevant blazers at the welsh FA loose their free evening scotch and quail dinners.

    And why would they? Team GB =/= England. It's a choice between playing and not playing, not who you play for.

    Although I'm pretty sure Ramsey and Bale in their heart of hearts would rather play for england anyway. Eventually they'll get tired of the pointless Welsh side-show, just like Giggs did.

  • Comment number 88.

    Oh Dear ! - That's the Olympic spirit gone down the pan.

    Don't you think that football generally would be better off without small minded administrators?

  • Comment number 89.

    GB = Scotland, Wales and England but not NI. Calling the olympic team, Team GB, displays the ignorance of the folk that run the olympics in what is the UK not GB. Better to have a knockout competition between Wales, NI, England and Scotland to see which football team will represent the UK at the olympics. At least they won't be any more incompetent that the English u21s. Better still - let Paris have these silly games.

  • Comment number 90.

    Nice to see so many comments from the Tartan Army. I wonder how many of them support Rangers and Celtic - two sides who have been falling over themselves to get into the ENGLISH Premier League...

    As a proud Welshman I'm all for this GB team. For the first time in my life I might well get the chance to see a Welshman (or maybe even two) making waves at a major championship - and it's a fair bet that Gareth Bale will be the best player wearing the GB shirt (if he can stay fit). Finally a reason to tune in to Olympics football!

    I suppose Scottish fans are against it because none of their players will make the squad, and that will be embarrassing for them.

    All the stuff about Fifa bores me - I have no interest in trying to second-guess what Blatter and his cronies are going to do next. Fifa must have the least credibility of any international organisation on the face of the planet - which given that NATO have been blowing up Libyan civilians is quite some achievement!

  • Comment number 91.

    @85 - Craig Gordon? Are you joking? Hart is twice the player!

    All this fuss over getting Bale and Ramsey in the team, is it really worth it? If the Scottish and Welsh want to cry off and not give their players even the chance of going to the Olympics that's their problem! By the sounds of it most 'normal' people and footballers want to be apart of it so it's only their respective FAs that are being stubborn.

    If they keep refusing then just have it be all English players, it would most likely have been 95% English anyway!

  • Comment number 92.

    Given the FA, SFA and many supporters of football are not trusting FIFA at the moment (and with good reason), why should anybody trust them when they say that they will protect the associations because it's a one-off. A lot of people within FIFA want to get rid of the IFAB and an Olympic team would be the first thing that they can point to to say that the IFAB isn't needed any more.

    Personally I don't want to see a British football team until there is a fully British league structure, but that's not going to happen any time soon.

    If I were head at the SFA, FAW or IFA, let the players play but make it known that they can't ever pull on the jersey of their country again

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    re Lin if as you say that bale and ramsey would in their heart of hearts rather play for England why did,nt they choose you simple because they are Welsh and i would assume that they are being persuaded/coaxed to play for team GB within your london circles

  • Comment number 95.

    The English desire for a trophy seems to be driving them on to a forceful notion that each of the other home nations should bend over and take what the English force upon them, such is the message of outrage being portrayed by some on here.

    3/4 of the UK footballing nations do not wish to partake. England are a minority in this. Why should the objections of 3 seperate countries organisations be ignored?

    The outrage from the 3 nations is not so much that the GB Team is pressing ahead, more so that they are being portrayed to have agreed to it and are supporting it - which is entirely misleading and goes against what the fans, for example in the tartan army, do not want.
    If England wish to participate under a banner of "GB" then by all means feel free to do so - but do not make out that we're all willing participants.

  • Comment number 96.

    what stinks of english racism is this failure to respect diversity i have no problem of england being england its this need by some and many of them in here, is this need to disrespect those who don't share there view of national loyalties and identity in sport.
    the ranting is anything from petty and well there players are not that good anyway and the list just keeps growing and english racism is not about name calling or not about Scots not supporting England its the idea that we should and that there is something wrong with us because we don't plus the institutional disrespect for our Scottish Football Association

  • Comment number 97.

    87. At 20:50 21st Jun 2011, Lin wrote:

    Although I'm pretty sure Ramsey and Bale in their heart of hearts would rather play for england anyway


    The Wales international could have opted to play for the Three Lions but insisted there was never any doubt in his mind about his national allegiance.
    "It is an honour to play for Wales," he said. "I could have played for England because my grandmother is English. She never tried to put any pressure on me though. Nobody ever got in touch with me personally from England, only through my agent.
    "But I wanted to play for Wales and my hero as a kid was Ryan Giggs. I play on the left as well so I have tried to take certain elements from his game and adapt them into mine.

  • Comment number 98.

    To 76. Race for your life.

    What the heck was all that about??

  • Comment number 99.

    Whats the big deal? The team will go out in the first round. Surely the powers that be would try to install the best British manager available in charge. However, some bright spark has equated that to be Stuart Pearce.

  • Comment number 100.

    It is the British Olympics therefore any athlete from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland should have the opportunity and choice to represent Britain if selected. Player selection should have nothing to do with the home nation Football Associations.


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