There has been a “historic” deal for the 2012 Olympics in London where there will only be one united football (soccer) team instead of separate teams for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to The BBC. Officials have decided to call it “Team GB”.This is the first time since 1960 that a football team comprised of players from the parts of the United Kingdom could compete in the Olympics.
However, football officials and some players from Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are not happy about this move. The BBC reports that football officials from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have come out against one Team GB although they cannot legally stop their players from joining in if they wish. There are fears that FIFA will look at Team GB in the Olympics and stop Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from competing in future World Cups and FIFA tournaments as separate teams.
The former football manager for Scotland Craig Brown said that he does not support the unification effort and he “would rather lose as Scotland than win as Great Britain. I feel for our identity; I am very patriotic, as most football people are. It’s far more important to play for Scotland than play for Great Britain.”
Welsh defender Gareth Bale has said that he will play for the “Team GB” however, pointing out how the British and Irish rugby teams play together, the BBC reports.
Even the name “Team GB” has been proving controversial. The football executive from Northern Ireland said that a team called “Team UK” would be more constitutionally accurate as Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but not on the island of Britain.
If “Team GB” ends up competing in the Olympics, there is also a controversy about which national songs and flags would be appropriate to use.
The former Wales football captain Neville Southall was unhappy about the decision, telling the BBC: “What flag are they going to put up if they win it? The Union Jack? It’s not my flag. My flag’s a dragon.”
God Save The Queen is officially the UK’s national anthem, but according to the BBC, there used to be a line about crushing “Rebellious Scots” in it, which might be insulting to Scottish football fans. Scotland’s national anthem wouldn’t work either as there is a celebratory reference to a military defeat of England in 1313.
The debate about one football team for The UK in the Olympics comes a little over a month after Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party won a majority in the Scottish Parliament, and is gunning for more independence for Scotland from England. Salmond has promised a vote on Scottish independence.
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