Friday, May 29, 2009

If You Hate Football, Look Away Now...

I think it is incredibly sad that the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FAs have said they won't allow their players to play in a Great Britain football team at the London Olympics. It's short sighted and ill considered. FIFA had made crystal clear that their participation would not affect their futures as independent teams in world football.

Mind you, it's quite difficult to think of a single player from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland who would stand a cat in hell's chance of being selected for a Great Britain First XI anyway ... apart, obviously, from Jack Collison or James Collins :)

61 comments:

Harry said...

"SHORT sighted"?

Au contraire. The other three national Unions (remember the FA is just one) have looked long and hard at this, and trust Blatter about as far as he could throw them.

He may say that it will not affect the 4 nations' standing, but listen to what CONCACAF say, and remember that what Blatter says now stands for nothing after he has gone.

I thought you believed in the different cultures that make up the UK?

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Oh come now - I can think of several Welsh players that would get a look in. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay for two...

Welsh and ever-so proud said...

You have just explained precisely why, we outside of England, don't give a stuff about your Unionist wet dream!

Simon said...

Aaron Ramsey (Wales) of Arsenal, and Johnny Evans (NI) of Man U would get in imo.

kenny murphy said...

I'd agree with you that it is sad Iain.

However, it would appear that the Scottish Football Association were not given guarantees that our future (football!) Independence would be assured.

Some politican somewhere (possibly Cameron..) came up with the great idea that all four home nations should play each other in a mini contest with the winners representing GB. It was a fantastic idea. However, as we know fantastic ideas is something us in GB don't do..

John Moss said...

Darren Fletcher would be a shoo in for a central midfield role alongside Carrick. As a pair, they knock Gerrard and Lampard in to a cocked hat. Only Barry comes close.

Forge Lindin said...

Kenny Miller

But I think your blogpost describes pretty well why those countries wouldn't want such a team :)

The English media, pundits and fans would be obsessed with the English players. I am Scottish and supported England in the 2002 world cup all the way up until Rooney's violent outburst, just because of the spectacle of it, and the opportunity the hype afforded but I dont think it would work so well in a cooperative team unless theres some other example.

It may well be justified - I wasn't alive in 1966

simon said...

Craig Gordon, possibly

Hogyn o Rachub said...

Does Blatter's word really count for anything .... really???

Sean said...

So Darren Fletcher plays week in week out for England's club champions (almost universally referred to as 'the best team in the world' until the other night) but he wouldn't stand a cat in hell's chance of getting into a mediocre England side.

Okay, Iain. That sounds great.

Craig Gordon would also get into the team ahead of whatever calamity England have in goals these days.

James Kelly said...

Fifa had made it crystal clear? What about when Sepp Blatter gave the game away and conceded that it could well have an impact on Scotland/Wales/NI's separate status? For a position to be 'crystal clear' the very least it needs to be is consistent, and Blatter's was anything but.

It's interesting that you also use the word 'shortsighted'. I'd have thought the very definition of 'shortsighted' is to become too fixated by the glamour of what is in fact a relatively minor one-off tournament (under-23s) and in so doing ignore the immense potential long-term cost. Any Fifa assurance wouldn't have been worth the paper it was written on, because a new board could simply have revisited the decision down the line.

Consider this, Iain - why have three separate FAs all reached the considered conclusion that there is a problem here? They can't have all lost their marbles.

no longer anonymous said...

"You have just explained precisely why, we outside of England, don't give a stuff about your Unionist wet dream!"

Because your football teams are s***?

Bucket of Tongues said...

Got to agree with Harry - short-sighted this ain't. It's easy to be condescending, but independent sports teams are one of the way that the Celtic nations assert and experience their nationhood. How would you feel about West Ham sharing a stadium with Spurs? Still different teams...

Steve H said...

Bear in mind that each of the four home FAs has a permanent seat on the nine-seat IFAB (the body governing the laws of the game).

That's one obvious motive for the game's powerbrokers wanting to encourage the idea of a single British FA.

Don't fall for the promises of powerful people, Iain. I seem to recall that Mrs T promised that she'd replace discord with harmony.

Anonymous said...

Football shouldn't be an Olympic sport - period.

Thomas said...

Absolute piffle! As a Northern Irishman I can well understand why the IFA reached this decision. Would you really trust Sepp Blatter and FIFA to honour their word?

p.s. Jonny Evans could have made the team!

Oliver Drew said...

Hmmm. I can only think of Darren Fletcher who would be in contention for a place. Perhaps Craig Gordon in goal...

Shame they couldn't have had a "home nations" championship to decide who was gonna play it...that at least would've been fun to watch.

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

There is as much chance of a UK national team happening than 1966 not being mentioned during an England game.

Invicta said...

Anonymous Welsh and ever-so proud said... I suppose you won't be supporting the Lions in South Africa over the coming month then?

Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...

Iain,

I have blogged about this from a welsh perspective.

http://sweetandtenderhooliganwelsh.blogspot.com/2009/05/faw-should-have-done-more.html

Surely Aaron Ramsey is one of the best british players in his age cohort?

With respect, i love Collison, but Ramsey is better.

Bill Quango MP said...

They are right not to trust Fifa.
They would u-turn quicker than a MP about to face an election.

Thomas Rossetti said...

I'll probably be accused of fawning to the other commenters in order to get nice comments back later, but I have to agree with the majority of what's been said. There are very sound reasons for not trusting Blatter on this issue.

What exactly is wrong with having a four-way play-off to decided which team would represent GB? We've got the ideal number of teams (four), for a start. It would be brilliant. Three games in total. Winner takes all.

England would be favourites, but this doesn't necessarily mean they would win. The whole contest would be a massive boost for the economy.

Ross said...

The logic of the Scottish, Welsh & Northern Irish governing bodies is flawed.

They say they don't want a united British team because they fear that FIFA will use that as a pretext to make it permanent, despite having pledged not to. However if FIFA were that determined and that untrustworthy then they would do so in any case, regardless of the Olympics.

Glyn H said...

I had no idea that Soccer was an Olympic activity - how utterly daft. I was persuaded to go to friends and watch the match on Wednesday and delighted that Barcelona won over a team seemingly as dull as that dreary horrid town they come from! Is that gum chewing geezer the one who tried to steal in Court the stud fees from what had been a goodwill gift from his owners? Why was he not shamed into resignation?

Thomas Rossetti said...

(I have just realised my last comment is something of a contradiction. Oh well!)

Malc said...

Iain,

FIFA has made no such promise. And even if it had, would you trust anything you had written from FIFA?

New dictat from FIFA - London's football clubs are no longer to compete as individuals. Instead, the all must play in Arsenal red (just because), they're going to play at Selhurst Park and no Hammers are to be involved. Still like the idea?

Just a thought.

Plenty said...

Anyone watching FA CUP tomorrow? Gone are the days when it was a big thing. Tradition in this country is falling out the window.

http://www.plenty2say.com

..Silicon Implant!! said...

How's this for a nuclear option? Were I in government and in charge of Sport, I'd think about publicly stating that since Football is the national sport of GB&NI, it is wholly unacceptable that GB cannot field a team in the 2012 Olympics due to petty football politics. I would indicate to all parties that I would mandate a British team under the auspices of the BOA or somebody else, over the head of the football authorities, by way of knocking the heads of the home nation's FA's together, if they couldn't soort it out themselves.

My (limited) understanding is that this would breach FIFA rules about government interference in football and result in all the home nations and associations being suspended from all international competitions indefinitely. Which should concentrate minds on all sides suitably (since the sudden end of British teams, club and international, in all international competition, is in absolutely nobody's interests, economic or otherwise), with the result that everybody should be motivated to resolve this within football in such a way that once every four years a GB team could play in Olympic competition without there being any more sinister political implications going forward...

Jones the Boot said...

The FAW needs to be disbanded anyway as the clubs want to be under the FA.

Premier League Wolf said...

To Forge Lindin,
Kenny Miller? You 'avin' a bubble?
The SPL is so weak that even players like Miller, Naylor and Berra look half decent up there!

To Iain,
Who wants to watch a British Team anyway? ..... and who cares about the Olympics where football is concerned?

To all would be Welsh, Scottish or Irish anti English nationalists, In Kevin Keagan style I would just love it, love it if there was a serious move within England to declare political independance from the minor coutries of the UK. Then watch our celtic neighbours cry foul! In football we have already achieved this happy state. If it aint broke dont fix it.

Wyrdtimes said...

The spineless FA should have told FIFA where to go.

England should play as England.

I shall be cheering anyone but team "GB".

Thomas Rossetti said...

Malc, your post is the biggest load of nonsense I have read in quite some time. Why on earth would FIFA -- who wouldn't be in control of such a thing anyway -- say that London could only have one club? Would they say Madrid can only have one club, or Celtic merge with Rangers?

By all means oppose the idea of a GB football team, but don't come up with preposterous suggestions that would never happen.

Anonymous said...

The answer to this is really very simple. National independence and therefore full Olympic teams. Hopefully by 2012 Scotland will have achieved that perfectly normal and sensible state.

Douglas McLellan said...

Iain

I usually agree with a lot of what you say as a lot of what you say is sensible, well thought out and worth reading.

On this topic you are embarrasingly wrong. Sepp Blatter and FIFA have never been totally clear and above board about the level of protection available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should they take part in a GB team. Blatter is on record complaining that the proliferation of smaller Eastern European nations arising from the fall of Communisim and independence movements has meant that there are too many national teams. Just how many teams arose from the USSR alone?

Furthermore, your English bias shone through in your comments about players from these countries playing alongside English players. The rules stat that for olympic football 'professionals are allowed in the men’s tournament, rules restrict teams to players under 23 years old with the exception of three over-age players.' Few of the current national players from any of our nations will be eligible.

Daniel Kearns and Ryan O'Neill could be decent shouts for that squad.

And if you dont know who they are they you are not a West Ham fan.

James said...

Just for those touting people like Darren Fletcher Craig Gordon and Johnny Evans, just remember the age restriction on Olympic football is 23 at the time of competition (as far as I'm aware), so these guys would all be too old.

Admittedly teams are allowed three over-23s, and Johnny Evans would be a good shout for one of these from a non-England standpoint, but there are going to be better choices in goal/midfield by 2012...

Stepney said...

One can only imagine this becoming political soon.

Mark my words - there'll be quotas. 3 Jocks, 3 Taffs, 3 Ulstermen, a Manx and Ed Balls as sweeper.

What am I saying? How sexist is that?

Hewitt as the lone striker and Blears as the big stopper in central defence?

Given their general proclivity for f**king things up it's probably nearer reality than fantasy...

Anonymous said...

Sea Shanty Irish here:

Do not have any personal view on the subject.

BUT would like to ask, under what logic would players from Northern Ireland be included in a squad representing "Great Britain"?

As opposed to "United Kingdom" which of course (whether one likes it or not) does include Northern Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Can you seriously imagine Scots, Welsh and English fans together on the terraces singing "Come on Great Britain"??

All the celts would've been drowned out by INGER-LUND, INGER-LUND, INGER-LUND.... such a shame it won't happen.

golden_balls said...

tut tut a gayer talking football

you bring shame on our people ian :-)

Anonymous said...

Evans, Fletcher, Bale and Ramsey in a combined GB team? That's the funniest thing I've read since the last Toynbee column.

Greeley's Ghost said...

As its England's wendyball team who are playing do you think that:

a) you'll be a medal cert only to be beaten by johnny foreigner who 'was lucky, but didn't deserve to win' or
b) be 'robbed' by the ref who again is a foreigner and blind or
c) go out in the usual blaze of failure by bollocking up the penalties.

Malc said...

Thomas Rossetti,

It wasn't meant as a serious suggestion - it was meant as a wind up for Iain Dale. Being a Hammer, I would have thought it might have nettled him a little the thought of losing his footballing identity, it being swallowed up in a larger entity.

It was food for thought - for his support of a GB football team is the equivilant. Incidentally, you make my point better than I did. There'd be as much consternation with the idea of Celtic & Rangers fielding a joint side as there would be of the SFA agreeing to play under a British flag at the Olympics. It won't happen.

penlan said...

Sorry Iain,but we can't trust Blatter and I think the FAW were correct not to endanger the status of the National side and Association for this one-off useless jamboree.

As proof that this is not a sour national point,the combined British and Irish rugby team is supported 100% by us.

Ian said...

So if they do play, what's the betting that the TV commentator will mention England's (only) 1966 World Cup victory with 60 seconds of the kick off.

That's why the other three home unions won't touch it. They don't trust EUFA, they certainly don't trust FIFA and they know the press will treat it as it another England team

wolfie said...

Football shouldn't be in the olympics at all. It's nonsense.

I speak as a dyed in the wool football supporter.

JPT said...

Of course Collison and Collins, Welsh Hammers - like myself!

Thats News said...

I had heard what Harry heard. There was something about this on Radio Wales, a while ago. Another FIFA official had reportedly said: "your status would be at risk."

StradeyParker said...

You should stick to commenting on matters about which you have greater knowledge, Iain.

But to help you along in your thought process, imagine that some day (hypothetically), you might be good enough to represent your country at something. How would you feel to discover that this would be denied you because a sporting world body had decided to stop England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales competing as separate nations to accomodate African countries or those that found independence again after the fall of communist Russia?

And even though guarantees had been given, changing circumstances and the forthcoming FIFA presidential elections meant that a new set of imperatives prevailed?

Of course this won't affect you until full-contact Twittering is recognised as an Olympic sport. But until then you can dream about those five rings.

Oh, and should you want to bring up the Lions, that is a different case altogether as it has a long-standing tradition and does not impact on international competitions for the four home nations - we still have the 6N and RWC (Six Nations and Rugby World Cup, in case you are a wendyball type).

smileyman said...

Sea Shanty Irish - in 1908 the IOC assigned the name "Great Britain" to the United Kingdom, so NI participants can be part of the team.

There is also an arrangement between the BOA and the OCI that NI participants are entitled to represent Ireland if they wish.

If I were the four nations, I'd go for it, and if FIFA reneged on any "deal", I'd withdraw from FIFA/UEFA and form a new world association that wasn't so despicable.

DougtheDug said...

It's short sighted and ill considered. FIFA had made crystal clear that their participation would not affect their futures as independent teams in world football.When Sepp Blatter leaves FIFA all the promises he made leave with him. The SFA are being very far-sighted and considered in rejecting a single under-23 tournament which could destroy their independence in international football.

I actually think they've made a mistake in allowing any British team to compete.

For those calling for a play-off in which the winner plays as GB in the Olympics, think it through.

FIFA will say if you can do it for the Olympics you can do it for all international competitions and that's the end of Scotland, Wales, NI and England.

Remember Blatter's promise about Scotland et al remaining independent applies to England too. If Scotland, Wales and NI disappear as independent teams in favour of a GB team so does England.

The Olympic Football Team supporters are being incredibly parochial and risking the future of all four international teams for the sake of one under-23 tournament in London.

seebag said...

Incredibly sad ? for gawds sake get a grip Iain - it's a bunch of morons kicking a bag of air about

Anonymous said...

I'm from Norn Iron as well - and I've always understood that Britain is England & Wales; Great Britain brings in Scotland; and my passport (whatever the IOC says) says I am a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland - soemthing the international car registration people don't seem to have grabbed either and we (sniff) put up cheerfully with having to have GB on our cars when we venture abroad

strapworld said...

Well The Football Association of England and Lord Mawhinney should now bar Swansea, Cardiff, Newport(?) Wrexham and any other Welsh team from participating in the English leagues and FA Cup.

Let them do to the Welsh Leagues what rangers and Celtic do to the Scottish Leagues!

Small minded idiots.

Ian said...

Strapworrd said, "Let them do to the Welsh Leagues what Rangers and Celtic do to the Scottish Leagues"

So he wants Cardiff and Swansea to bring sectarian violence to Welsh football

I speak as a Falkirk supporter looking forward apprehensively to tomoeeow's cup final.

King Athelstan said...

Unionist wet dream, my arse! i couldn't give 2 hoots about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and I wish people would cease and desist from pretending I should. The one thing stopping Blatter from executing his dirty plan is that He would look pretty bloody stupid sitting with his apparatchiks in an empty stadium and the fact that it wouldn't turn up one red cent for him would be reason enough not to go through with it.

Anna said...

Ross said...

"if FIFA were that determined and that untrustworthy then they would do so in any case, regardless of the Olympics."

precisely and its the one thing the NoTeamGB lot consistently stick their heads in the sand about, that and the paralympic football Team GB, but the opinions of people like Blatter, Warner etc are not going to go change or go away just because Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland have taken their olympic balls and gone home.

Anonymous said...

great post/tease Iain, one of the best non politico splashes on your blog recently... imo it is judged by the decency of your readers commentary... well done again... and i am a lion (not loving bubbles)

Holyrood Patter said...

exactly
wen you see fifa has given assurances, you mean sepp blatter. not only is he an absolute raving maniac, he cant account for the opinions of all the 90 odd fifa members

iluvni said...

Just when you start to warm to England again, along comes a smug English commentator like Dale to condescend about how none of the other nations players are good enough compared to his boys.

And then I think of the delightful ball played by Steve Davis for Healy to run onto to rifle it past the gormless Robinson to wipe the smug smiles right off your faces.

Aaaaah, perfect.
Have a nice day.
Stick your Olympic team up yer arse.

Cath said...

Arrogant English nonsense. I've noticed the Tories think standing up for England and belittling the Celtic fringe is a vote winner. Get out of your London bubble. There are many of us in the north of England who don't feel English at all. I'll support the Celts any day. Jamie Carragher has it right, "F*** it, it's only England."