Team Britain, Fuck NO
Now that London has won the Olympics there is pressure from politicians for Britain to form a British football team to take part in the Olympic tournament. The trouble with this idea is that the UK is a state made of four nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each of these four nations has a separate sporting identity and they compete as separate entities in world football; it is worth remembering that the game was invented in England and the first ever international football match was played between Scotland and England in Glasgow, 1872 (it ended 0-0).
There is much rivalry between the home nations, and between English and Scottish fans in particular there is a mutual loathing. But it's that passion that makes football the sport that it is, and it's what makes clashes between great rivals - England v Germany, USA v Mexico, Germany v Holland, Argentina v Brazil, Scotland v Faroe Islands - so very exciting. Take that rivalry away and you are left with twenty two men kicking a piece of leather around. Dilute that rivalry and you are left with an international Dodo of a sport. Frankly I couldn't care less for a British team, I certainly won't support one, and I cannot understand how the English FA, even less Trevor Brooking, can even countenance the idea of playing a British team instead of an English team. The very idea goes against the tradition of the game and the wishes of the fans, not to mention the players themselves.
LONDON 2012. First, let's congratulate London on a successful bid, just as we would have congratulated Paris.
Now, what can Scotland get out of it? Well, we should send a team.
There are 202 national Olympic committees (NOCs), and 13 of them represent areas which are states not recognised by the UN; they include Hong Kong and Puerto Rico. The Virgin Islands even have two teams - one from the British Virgin Islands and one from the US Virgin Islands.
The IOC expresses it quite simply: "Although most NOCs are from nations, the IOC also recognises independent territories, commonwealths, protectorates and geographical areas.""
To me this make perfect sense. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should compete as separate teams at the Olympics, in eveything. That way we get more home athletes that can qualify and we retain our national teams. I'm English first, British second. And I am sure that many Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish feel similarly about their nationality. I hope that they do, and I also hope that the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish fans can all support this call.
Either England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland compete as separate teams, in all events, at the Olympics, or we compete as Britain and have no team to represent us at football.
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"We the undersigned refuse to support a British football team at the Olympics, or in any tournament. Furthermore, we pledge to go out of our way to discourage any future British football team by pledging to boo each player in the British team, regardless of nationality, each time that he receives the ball."
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Yesterday Wales were playing England at 8am Alberta time so I popped along the road and joined a club, the 'Elephant and Castle Soccer Fanatic Club'.
Here's my membership card to prove it:
Unfortunately, as I found out when I went to order a beer, Albe
In comments Alex points out that the BBC are embracing Team GB wholeheartedly:
Football Focus on the BBC have already named their UK XI for the football as if it were being played this year and, that's right, you get one Scot [Darren Fletcher] and one W