Great Britain far from a United Kingdom

Regular readers of this site will recall we mentioned the fact the at the London 2012 Olympics football tournament Great Britain will be entering a team. This is a rare occasion, as all of the nations within the United Kingdom compete independently on the World stage and in Europe under FIFA and UEFA.

Guarantees have been given to the Olympic organisers that if a team of players from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales takes the field it will not in any way affect these countries status in the European Champions League, The European Cup or the World Cup. Despite the fact that many European nations have been complaining for many years about the United Kingdom competing as separate nations in football competitions.

It would appear that even though they have the word of the European and World governing bodies some of the nations are very wary of the consequences should one of their players represent Great Britain.

In fact so much so that the word is that they are putting pressure on the players likely to be selected to not play for Team GB, and there are even whisperings of players facing a ban from representing their country should they opt to play in the Olympics.

It would appear that pictures of Welshman Gareth Bale in a team GB shirt would indicate that he is more than happy to participate in the Olympic Games. Some may say what has he got to lose with Wales only every qualifying for one World Cup finals way back in 1958? Where incidentally they made the quarter finals and only lost 1-0 to eventual winners Brazil, and that was without John Charles!

There is now believed to be some friction over the choice of the coach, former England defender Stuart Pearce. Many believing that Ulsterman, and proven coach Martin O’Neill, would have been a better choice. O’Neill, who played with Nottingham Forest in their heyday, then has managed clubs successfully in both England and Scotland would appear to have the qualifications to please three of the four nations, but a decision has been made.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Great Britain far from a United Kingdom
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2 thoughts on “Great Britain far from a United Kingdom

  • November 3, 2011 at 9:56 am
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    Mintox, you may be right to a degree, but this argument has been rumbling in UEFA for a number of years and when we had Lord Coe on the show he stated that he had to get UEFA and FIFA to agree that if they played as Great Britain it would not put these nations positions in their tournaments at risk.

    The European nations as they have grown, – former USSR, and Yugoslavia splitting into other nations,- has meant more footballing nations and they all want to qualify for major tournaments, and believe if they can cut back on these then there is more chance of them progressing.

    History is currently the thing saving the United Kingdom nations, certainly not form.

    Lord Coe said that it was an issue that had to be handled correctly and he was sure that UEFA and FIFA would keep their word.

  • November 3, 2011 at 9:39 am
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    It has nothing to do with countries complaining that the “home nations” play as different countries, I’ve never heard any reports to substantiate your claim. What it does come down to is the fact that all four British FA’s have a seat on the 8 man IFAB which sits within FIFA and makes decisions on the rules of the game. It’s a position of power that they won’t give up and one which rubs other associations up the wrong way!

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