The Witan Club links to this article detailing how there will be a Great British football team at the 2012 olympics. Except that Scotland and Wales refuse to play, so it will be an English football team (the article doesn’t mention NI).
The problem comes because the Home Nations compete in football as individual countries, and our various Football Associations are affiliated to FIFA separately. As the game was codified in England, and the first international match was between England and Scotland in 1872 before the game spread to the rest of the world this has been allowed despite most countries teams following the political borders. In the Olympics we compete as the UK (under the name team GB!).
Now Sepp Blatter is apparently keen on replacing the four federation with a British team, so understandably the smaller nations are keen to guard their independence by refusing to take part, and England should do the same. The idea of English only players stepping out as Great Britain is just ridiculous. We haven’t entered the football since 1972 and why should we?
Now as a partisan England fan I will claim we have all the best players anyway, but we could certainly do with some new managers!
The only shame is for the England women’s team, where the Olympics is considered a premier competition, as opposed to a minor one in the men’s game. Our ladies did well enough to qualify but coudn’t earn a place as England. Some compromise, such as a Home Championship for a place could maybe be used there. But we lose nothing by not competing in the men’s.
There is a campaign against this which has been running for some time but will no doubt pick up pace as we get closer to 2012. So I urge you all to check out No Team GB.