Thursday, 23 June 2011


The somewhat incandescent response from the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland football associations to the announcement of Great Britain football teams for the 2012 Olympic Games should not have come as any great surprise to the British Olympic Association (BOA).

The other home nations FA's (outside England) have long made it more than clear that they are absolutely opposed to any suggestion that there be a joint 'British Football Team', and they have justifiably found the tone adopted by the BOA in making the announcement decidedly provocative if not patronising.

There is no new agreement, there was no old one, there is no falling in line and the distinct possibility that hell would have to freeze over before there is one. This is not news the position held by the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish FA's is not a new one.

The basic belief that if the other home footballing nations (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) rally behind the Union flag for the Olympics, then world governing body FIFA may well in time, perhaps not in the next few years but eventually, decide to make the joint team a permanent fixture, is an entirely sound one.

The risk is too great and the price that could be paid far, far too high, regardless of any muttered assurances from Fifa that any participation in a joint Olympic team will have no bearing on their national autonomy, in light of FIFA's instability is absolutely not worth taking.

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