Team GB to go ahead

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A last-minute deal has been brokered which will see Team GB represented at the 2012 Olympics according to the latest reports from the Press Association. The document has been prepared by the Scottish FA (SFA) and sent on to their counterparts in Wales (FAW) and Northern Ireland (IFA). FIFA had set a deadline of May 31st for resolution of the long-running argument and the participating FAs appear to have reached a solution despite opposition from fan groups.

As previously reported by the FSF the agreement will see a British football team made up solely of English players. The SFA, FAW and IFA have decided to give their backing to this so long as none of their own players are selected.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter had in the past made it clear that he would accept an English only team to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Olympics but warned the other FAs their sovereignty would be threatened should they become involved.

It is not entirely clear why the non-participating FAs have signed up to this deal although SFA spokesman Rob Shorthouse hinted that it was in order to avoid political damage within FIFA.

There had been rumours that the Scottish FA would block any negotiations after English FA chair Lord Triesman broke a confidentiality deal by hinting Team GB was close to being a done deal.

Opponents of Team GB, including the FSF (alongside FSF Cymru) and supporters groups from Scotland and Northern Ireland, have long argued that this move will threaten the independence of the Home Nations.

Team GB supporters point to FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s insistence that this will not be the case but FIFA is an organisation made up of more than one person. Should the school of thought on their executive turn it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they demand a homogenous Team GB for all competitions.

Critics also ask what if Team GB (aka England) was to emerge victorious at the 2012 Olympics? Would the British Olympic Association or English FA happily not defend their title or would this argument be made all over again?

The 2012 Olympics is meant to bring the Home Nations together in order to celebrate sporting unity. It’s difficult to see how a team made up solely of English players can hope to achieve this.

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