BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence

Archives for June 2011

Team GB shirt not a neat fit for Scots

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Jim Spence | 11:28 UK time, Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Some Scottish football fans may be asking what is it that the British Olympic Association doesn't get when it comes to a GB football team.

Their announcement that an "historic agreement" had been reached allowing footballers from all the home nations to play for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games has caused uproar among the Tartan Army.

The majority of Scottish football fans appear not to want to be part of a Team GB.

Simples, as the meerkats say.

Many will argue that we compete in the Olympics under the GB banner in other events, but when it comes to football, the BOA is, I suspect, about to become acquainted with hidden depths of feelings they never realised existed.

Why? Well, the national football team always has been a source of pride and self-expression for the vast bulk of Scots.

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Is it time up for the Scottish Football League?

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Jim Spence | 17:20 UK time, Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Scottish Football League has survived two world wars but is it about to be killed off in a battle where the forces of both the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Premier League are pitched against it?

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has called for one body to oversee Scotland's leagues and he wants to see a pyramid system support the senior ranks.

And the latter issue could prove to be the Trojan Horse for the SFL's survival hopes.

The SFL has dragged its heels on relegation from its lowest tier, fearful that a member club has nowhere to go at present, with no organised national structure outside of its own set up.

But their stance, while understandable from the point of view of self-preservation, offends against the notion of meritocracy and leaves many sizeable communities such as Galashiels and Inverurie, to name but two, without any real chance of competing in a truly national league.

The SPL has been rightly criticised for its miserly and unfair position of allowing only one club to come up per season from the First Division.

But that could change with the SPL now considering the incentive of play-offs to reach the top flight.

The trade-off though, will be that the SFL agrees to allow promotion and relegation from the Third Division, meaning that a pyramid system must be put in place to accommodate that.

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Referees' summer camp is no holiday

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Jim Spence | 18:19 UK time, Saturday, 4 June 2011

I've just spent a very interesting Saturday watching Scotland's top football referees being put through their paces on the training ground.

Scotland's best whistlers were at their annual two-day referee summer camp at St Andrews.

It sounds like a holiday, but after watching them complete, among other physical exertions, a sweat-drenched 10 laps of the running track, with a series of sprints thrown in, it's not.

On top of their fitness test, classroom work ranging from laws of the game/general knowledge test through to pre-season guidelines and discussion groups, ensures a busy schedule for refs.

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Could Fifa's troubles threaten the Scotland team?

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Jim Spence | 10:53 UK time, Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Could Fifa's internal war threaten the very existence of the Scottish national football team?

At present the four home nations hold a special place in world football.

The International Football Association Board (Ifab) determines the laws of the game.

Ifab is made up of the four football associations of the four home nations, along with the governing body, Fifa.

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