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British Olympic team in 2012 could be all-English

British Olympic team in 2012 could be all-English

Britain could field a football team made up entirely of English players at the 2012 London Olympics, Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said Tuesday.
The football associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are opposed to the idea of a British team, fearing participation could jeopardize their independence and voting rights within world governing body FIFA.
Sutcliffe said FIFA had given a written assurance that a British Olympic team would not threaten the interests of the individual associations, but also admitted there were no long-term guarantees that the four nations would continue to compete independently.
He said it would be a "farce" if Britain staged the Olympic football tournament without taking part in it. and said an all-English side could play if necessary.
"There has always been and will continue to be a threat to that individuality because of the way FIFA is evolving," Sutcliffe said during a parliamentary debate. "(An all-English team) is the sad fact of what is going to happen unless we can try and resolve this issue."
Pete Wishart, a member of parliament from the Scottish National Party, described the Olympic tournament as "meaningless" when he opened the debate.
"We should do absolutely nothing that would ever threaten our independent football status," Wishart said. "We should never give a hint of a precedent that might be able to be used against us in the future. We should give no reason, no excuse to those who would question our independent footballing status, no succor to those who would seek to end the very generous arrangements we have in the UK."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is Scottish, backs the idea of a British Olympic team. He has even suggested it could be coached by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, another Scot.
Ferguson, however, has ruled out any possibility of taking charge of the team. Former Scotland manager Craig Brown has launched a petition against a British team taking part.


Updated : 2021-04-15 18:09 GMT+08:00