Sons of Scotland...

>> Monday

With the controversies from the 2008 Olympics still under investigation, the controversies for the 2012 London games are already under way. The earliest controversy includes the sports of Men's and Women's Olympic Football. In each Olympics, as in other single-site tournaments, the host nation is granted an automatic place in the tournament. (Hence Greece somehow managing to scrape together enough baseball players to furnish a team.) Other nations may need to go through qualifying stages.

As such, Great Britain is allotted an automatic spot in the Olympic tournament for every team sport. The problem however, is that the International Olympic Committe recognizes "Great Britain" whereas FIFA, soccer's world governing body recognizes "England," "Scotland," "Wales," and "Northern Ireland." As you can guess (or infer from this present Olympics), there is no Great Britain team in existence...nor has there ever been. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been independent footballing nations for decades.

It seems like a relatively simple problem to fix...just combine the sides into a one-off team for the 2012 Olympics. But it is not as simple as that. First, how would such a team be picked? By the best players available? Or by quotas (Say....a 23-man roster with 12 English, 6 Scots, 3 Welsh and 2 Northern Irish?) However, this would likely not work, because in no sport more than soccer and in no place more than the United Kingdom does it appear to be wrapped up in national identity. The Scottish National team is one of the few cases on the world stage where Scotland is Scotland, and not part of the United Kingdom; where Scots can cheer on their own country. Secondly, even if such a team were to be formed, it would undoubtedly pick the best players available, and frankly, most if not all of them would be English, if only due to the larger population and talent pool, not to mention facilities and training infrastructure.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has made it clear that he is not impressed , and does not want Scotland to play any role in a "Team Great Britain." And frankly, he has a point. Why uproot 100+ years of tradition of Scotland as a footballing nation just to put 3 players on a one-off U-23 team. Why even risk it?


This whole argument lends further support to my suggestion that Olympic soccer should be discarded. With the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling allowing club teams to withhold their star players from the Olympics, now is a perfect time to leave top-flight international soccer to the World Cup and Continental tournaments.
Let Scotland be Scotland....Land of where they play the Braveheart speech at games apparently...

2 comments:

Anonymous,  7:16 PM  

I was always under the impression that a city(not a country) hosted the Olympics. Why not just enter the English national team and make the Scottish, Welsh and NI make it on their own?

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