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Friday, January 27, 2012

Team GB - what do you make of it?

As far as I understand, most of the Welsh and Scottish football fans are against the idea of "Team GB", a Great Britain football team that will participate as hosts at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish football associations are reluctant to participate, because they fear they will lose their independent status within FIFA and their IFAB spots.

However, it seems the English FA have approached players from the other home nations despite the opposition of the FAs.

More in this Telegraph article.

I've been asked by a Welsh reader to write an article about this to see "how this is received by a global audience". :)

There's nothing in the FIFA statutes to stop the English FA from selecting Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish players for the Olympics.

So, two questions:

1. Should the English FA be allowed to select players outside of England, even though the Welsh, Scottish are Northern Irish football associations are against it?
2. Is this story making headlines (or at least the back page) in your country and what are your national media saying about it?

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. The Scotland national team fans are against it. See

    1. At first, I was all for a Team GB but when I read the final team selection, I was disgusted at Stuart Pearce. If he thinks that no-one from Ireland, Scotland and most Welsh players aren't good enough for Team GB, then waken up man! This is nothing more than a "glorified" team England, picked by an Englishman and run by the FA!!! I, for one will NOT be supporting this Team GB.

    2. No one from Scotland or Northern Ireland is fit to be on Team GB. Besides, their FAs didn't want anyone on anyway. So they win.

      I'm happy with the selection, I feared tokenism, but Pearce was strong enough not to do that. Also strong enough not to pick Beckham for the sake of picking Beckham. It also emphasises the progress that Wales have made that they have several players in the squad.

      I would have taken Scotland's James Forrest if he had been available.

      I've seen people say Rhodes should replace Sordell, but Sordell has performed very well for the England U21s recently, Sordell would have been one of the first names on my team sheet.

      This kind of talk is pathetic in general. No other olympic team would be bound by a quota to choose from the other nations, including England, if there was no one good enough. The United States for instance wouldn't feel they had to have all states represented. If all top athletes came from just one state, then they'd come from just one state. If all GB's best athletes came from London, they'd all come from London. If all GBs best athletes came from Cardiff, they'd all come from Cardiff.

  2. I'm Welsh and I'm in favour of Team GB because not only am I proud to be Welsh, I am also proud to be British! I have already purchased tickets for a game as well as a replica kit, and I know many other people who are also doing exactly the same. I don't think it will jeapordise our standing as individual football nations, epecially as the Welsh, Scottish and English FAs are amongst the oldest associations in the world.

  3. murfilicious, you're based in London, so you could be seeing things a bit differently :)

  4. London? Yikes my office must have been moved!

  5. Or my traffic geolocator might be off :)

  6. In San Francisco, this topic has hit the local newspapers twice with a matter-of-fact tone, nothiing more. Seems reasonable for England to field a team as Olympic hosts. Bigger story is possible forthcoming vote of Scotland for its own independence.

  7. Why is this an issue now? In 1948 the British Amateur XI played in the Olympics and it didn't affect anything in regard to FIFA membership. Today this would've been a British U-21 XI but the principle is the same.
    However, since NI is not part of Great Britain I see no reason for them to get involved :)

  8. Edgar, the geo location will just show where our internet service providers are.

    Murfilicious, you've bought tickets and a replica kit? Wow, you have already fallen for it. The whole Team GB farce is a money making excercise and also a way of forcing some faux brittania on the colonies.

    Scotland and England have previously qualified for the Olympics but have both honoured the agreements we all made to not enter. The FA have bowed to political greed this time. The same journalists who proclaim that Fifa is corrupt are the same ones that say that Fifa has promised us everything will be fine. Funny how things change when there is money to be made.

    I was recently looking at South Koreas U23 teams results and fixtures. They haven't even qualified yet and are really throwing themeselves into it.

    Compare this to Team GB, managed my Stuart Pearce who has never even met some of the players he has been told to invite let alone coached, there wont even be any friendlies as clubs wont release the players. Whilst I mention Pearce, this is a guy whose remit with The FA is to develop players for the senior team, not to win tournaments. The only reason he got the job is because he is already on the pay roll.

    The full England team is unavailable to be picked due to a proper tournament taking place that summer and so Pearce is looking to build his team around over the hill players like Giggs, Beckham and even Paul Scholes.

    I'm hoping for some comments from South America, Africa and Spain. Imagine how different international football over the last few years would be if Catalunya and Basque were able to field teams just like the different "regions" of Britain are.

  9. I think it would be nice if only English players played, opening the door for future England teams to qualify to the olympics. I doubt that would happen. I'd like to support "England" but, a true team GB would be a nice novelty. I'd be more worried about token inferior players from Scotland and Northern Ireland getting into the team, but with the real England unavailable, there might be room for at least one on merit. Wales on the other hand have players who could genuinely improve the team. Giggs and Bale are World Class, Ramsey could do a job, and I bet there's at least one more who could fit in, their youth teams have been doing well in recent years.

    Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland overrate their own importance. No one has anything to gain from their removal from International football. They're not strong enough to qualify for anything. But if they were eliminated, they would be incorporated a Great Britian national team, which would be stronger than England are. It's counterproductive to eliminate them. They also (at least Scotland and Wales do) play in large national stadiums, which generates revenue for FIFA. Especially Scotland, Scotland have one of the best attendances in Europe. Why would FIFA want to throw that away?

    I hope Beckham gets to be captain. If he plays anything like he did in his last season, he'll be a credit to the team, and a huge example to the young players. I'm sure he'll roll back the years for us. This would surely be his last hurrah on national duty.

  10. Lorric, go back to your armchair.

  11. And there we have a classic example of why the whole world dislikes the English.

    @Lorric. There is no laws stopping England or any of the other home nations playing in the Olympics providing they qualify. On this occasion none of them did on merit, only via the host system.

    You also appear to think of Fifa as one entity, it's not, it's a collection of all the associations from around the globe.

    @Jonny, Northern Ireland is part of the UK and Great Britain is the name which it enters the Olympics under.

  12. Well, first of all, this has received very little attention in the Belgian media, I only vaguely remember reading something about it more than a year ago.

    Secondly, the Olympics have a tradition of "unity". In all other disciplines British athletes compete together under the Union Jack, so I don't see why this would be any different for football. As an added bonus, the larger the pool of players you can select from, the better for your team.

    However, I think the main reason (especially since FIFA clearly stated that this will have no influence on the current status of the Home Nations) why the Scottisch, Welsh and Northern Irish FA's don't want to give their permission is because of the fact that people will always make comparisons ("look, there are X Englishmen compared to Y Scots") and knowing that either way the team will consist mostly of English players (Bale and Ramsey being the obvious exceptions), I can see their objections. I'm not saying here that the English have better players (whether that is the case or not is not up to me to decide), but it's logical that Pearce, as an Englishman, will focus on English players. There are only 18 spots on the team (and if 3 of them are already used by golden oldies like Giggs and Beckham that leaves 15), so I believe the Northern Irish FA (just giving an example here, I'm not saying anything about the qualities of their players) wants to spare themselves the "humiliation" (which in fact it is not, since there simply is a smaller pool of players to choose from) of not having any players on the team. Personally, I think they should just "suck it up" and don't give a damn about this and just all togetehr stand behind their country.

  13. @ Stuart

    You're wrong. England have qualified before, but are not allowed to compete because GB competes at the Olympics, not England.

    Indeed, England would have qualified for the last one in 2008, had it been allowed. There were 4 places up for grabs and England would have had one. Since they couldn't claim it, Italy and Portugal, who were 3rd in the groups had a special playoff for the available spot:

    I don't. The other nations have nothing to gain by making 4 weaker teams into one stronger one. Even in club competition there is little to gain, as only Rangers and Celtic qualify outside of England, and even those two have been struggling in recent times. Why would anyone bother to push for it? They'd have a hell of a fight on their hands to make it happen, and it just isn't worth it for anyone to do that.

  14. Hey, the World is here, right? Does the World hate Lorric? You can't speak for the whole World, Stuart. Especially when you get your facts wrong.

  15. Here's another example. This time it was not England, but Scotland who were denied:

  16. @ A Belgian.

    You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. Firsly it has nothing to do with which players play. In fact the rest of us want there to be a team full of English players playing. Pearce has been told to play as many non English players as he can because this has nothing to do with football. It's a cheap political stunt to force some Rule Brittania up us and to try and sell some tickets.

    @ Lorric, I didn't say anyone hated you. Don't take it so personally.

    Also, it's not the fact that we can't enter the olympics, of course we all could if we qualified. It's the fact that we all agreed not to. And up until now the gentlemans agreement was kept. Although we know The FA have form for breaking these kind of agreements.

    Here's an article you should read. It'll educate you on the issues surrounding No Team GB. Explain why we don't want Team GB and why England and Scotland have not competed in the olympics despite both qualifying.

  17. @ Stuart

    That article still doesn't say anything about that. The gentleman's agreement is about this olympics, not the past ones. GB can't compete because GB can't qualify. I wish GB could qualify. Other associations have seperate tournaments specifically for Olympic qualification. If UEFA had one, a GB team could be fielded. But since we use the U21 Euro to qualify, it can't be done.

    As for Pearce, I thought he would pick on merit. Can you provide any proof that he's been instructed to pick as many non-English as possible?

    The FA has no choice but to break the agreement. If the FA went and selected a team entirely comprised of English players, players from other associations could open a discrimination case against them, and legally, the FA wouldn't have a leg to stand on. It's not as if the players are all solidly behind their FAs, that would be different. Then they'd tell the FA they DON'T WANT to be picked. They'd have refused the letters sent out asking. But they're not. They want to play for GB. So there's no choice but to let them. Any issue you have is with those players, not the respective FAs.

  18. By your logic if the men cannot qualify for the Olympics because they do not compete in the qalifiers as GB then that should mean that the same rule would apply for the women too?

    As for the players, we'll see what they do. The FA sent a letter out to almost 200 players and are using the "if they don't say no then that means they've said yes" logic.

    Try using that in real life and see how long it takes before you get locked up.

  19. @ Stuart

    Well, sometimes the women's game is different. I don't know much about it anyway. But I see Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland blocking the team. Annoying. Interesting England didn't want to block it and wanted to send the team. Obviously England at least then perceived no threat to the independant status.

    I thought it was just yes or no. In that case, we will indeed see what happens when the time comes.

    Try using what?

    I'd still like to know where the idea that Pearce has been told to pick as many non-English players as possible came from.

  20. That is to do with ticket sales.

    They figure (wrongly) they can sell more tickets in Cardiff and Glasgow than they would by having more games in London. Or even Manchester.

    It also allows them to pretend that the games is in someway "British" and not just a London Olympics.

    It also allows the government to foist even more of this "faux brittania" nonsense on us.

    It allows them to have a proper Team GB, it's something Jack Straw proposed a decade ago when they realised the effect that devolution was having.

    Scotland are going to vote for independence in 2014. N Ireland will be having a referendum shortly after that for them to unify with the Republic. By then hopefully Welsh people and English people will have woken up and realised how toxic Britain really is.

    Team GB has nothing to do with football and everything to do with filthy politics and money.

  21. @stuart

    Very interesting, but as far as I've read in the last 15 minutes, neither referendum is set in stone. The United Ireland referendum could even take place as late as 2021.

  22. @ Stuart

    That's just speculation by you. No sources. If I wanted to make money, I'd have all matches at Wembley and a 100% England side. That would attract the most tickets, bigget stadium, England, potential for Olympic tourists to attend as well if England doesn't fill the place. But England fans outnumber the rest several times over anyway, a 100% England side at Wembley would be the best way to maximise profits.

    There's no need to "pretend". The Olympics are always held at a central venue. With some offshoot locations for specific sports.

    I don't know about Scotland, but there's no way N.I will jon Ireland. The IRA couldn't make them. The IRA jacked it in because they realised they couldn't turn the people. And now, they'd leave the protection of GB to join the economically crippled Republic of Ireland and the Euro? They won't.

    Scotland is a drain on England. I wouldn't mind seeing them go. See how they manage without the rest of Britain. I don't know about N.I and Wales, but it wouldn't surprise me if cutting any and all of them loose raised the GDP and quality of life in England.

  23. Scotland has been bankrolling the UK for decades.

    Sorry Lorric but you live in a dream world. When they conducted a report into Scotlands oil in the 60s they concluded that an independent Scotland would be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Due to the oil it would be a safe currency so it would also have one of the strongest currencies too.

    So they made the report top secret, buried it for 20 years and then used Scotlands oil (well the tax raised off it) to bank roll development of London and the South East of England.

    The report was finally published a few years ago. It's called the McCrone report.

    Scotland is the first domino, once that tumbles "Britain" is finished.

    @Edgar, I've told you this before. All our media here is biased. They have a vested interest in keeping this collective shambles together.

    As for the other "regions" of the UK. It's all about narrowing the gap from what money we raise and what we are "subsidised" with. The problem is that the ruling class (ie the ones from London and the South East of England) wont allow us any control over our own natural resources. Funny that?

    The same people that complain that we are too poor, too weak and even too stupid to run our own countries. Are the very same people that are desperate to not give us the opinion. And you have to ask yourself why?

  24. @ Stuart

    Ha ha. I forgot all about the oil. I was only thinking in terms of the land mass. No one ever mentions it though, I have absolutely no idea how much cash it generates. If Scotland goes, will all the rest of the UK suffer? Surely it can't be that simple, those rigs can't be owned solely by Scots, right? They must have been built with a combined effort from the UK, they can't just say "thanks, we're taking the cash now..."

    Any talk of oil in the media is always somebody else's. No one ever mentions those rigs. Even when the subject is Scottish independance in a time of economic strife.

  25. Regardless of who owns the rigs, the industry and all its expertise to maintain the rigs is based in Aberdeen.

    As for how much it generates - Around 60-70 billion pounds in the last 10 years, of which Scotland has received a 6 billion (i.e. almost per capita) share. Considering 80-90% of the rigs are in Scottish waters, the most optimistic estimate as to what Scotland should have received is around 50-60 billion. So, 40-50 billion pounds more than Scotland actually got. Imagine the rest of the UK without this 40-50 billion pounds and you'll have some idea as to why Cameron wants to hold on to Scotland... (PS - All figures are freely available on the Government's own website - including attributing the ENTIRE cost of the Trident nuclear deterrent to Scotland's finances, despite the fact that it's a defence mechanism for the whole of the UK - it's simply located in Scotland.

    If England wants the right to field an all-English team without objections from the rest of the UK, it should vote for independence.

  26. Personally I think the most bizarre matter in this awkward situation is the fact the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are unable to have their own independent olympic representation - they do it in football, why not in the olympics.

    The Faroes are in exactly the same situation as these three. They do have FIFA membership but no olympic representation and need to give their extremely talented swimmer, Pál Joensen, one of the best in the world and a strong Faroese independist himself, out to represent Denmark.

    I really hope that this "Great Britain football team" will be a very short lived project, both on and off the field.

    1. It's only because we're hosting. You'll likely never see it again in your lifetime.