Team GB is dead

Well, the Olympic Association Football Team GB in any case. From the Guardian:

Alex Horne, the general secretary of the Football Association, has said the Team GB men’s team will not play again and that it is “unlikely” that the women’s team will be allowed to enter the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

London 2012 marked the first time a Great Britain women’s team had competed at the Olympics while the men had not been involved since 1960.

You can understand why. Horne, along with the FA, is concerned with maintaining the special status given by FIFA to the “home nations”—England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The idea being of course that diluting them as part of a Team Great Britain in future Olympics would push FIFA to end their special status.

Really though? Is this threat that well-founded as to nix the highly-popular Women’s Team GB football team? And if so, the point of the most exercise in the first place seems lost.

But it’s hard to believe FIFA would seriously countenance merging some of the oldest international teams in the world, thereby making themselves even more unpopular in the nation that houses the world’s most lucrative and internationally recognized domestic football leagues, simply because Team GB fields a funny looking team for the Olympics.

FIFA is a horrible organization, but even they should see the optics there. Certainly better to see a Team GB in the Olympics then no home nation at all? Which should be the alternative.

Comments (4)

  1. The Scottish National Party have said that if they win the independence referendum (held in 2014) then Scotland will compete as a separate nation in Rio in 2016.

    It’s debatable whether they will be allowed to do that by the IOC but it’s just possible that the London Olympics may have been the last hurrah for Team GB as a whole (and not just the footballing side of it).

  2. I feel sorry for the women. I could care less about Men’s Olympic soccer.

    And Scotland qualifying for an international football competition? Ha!

  3. I don’t see the problem. Why can’t all four Home nations compete separately to qualify for Olympics like they do for all other international competitions? They could then represent GB if they actually do qualify. Just like club teams often represented Canada at the Olympics in ice hockey in the old days. If more than one Home team qualified (unlikely, since there are only two European places), they would just be GB1 and GB2 like many other Olympic events have (bobsled, for example),

    By the way, you are wrong to think FIFA would not look for opportunities to merge the Home nations. There are many examples of the executive committees’ dislike of the power they exert. There has been many calls to remove the Home nations 4 permanent seats on the boards. I would also say that resentment played a large part in England’s failure to get the 2018 World Cup. Any acquiescence on allowing a team GB at any level could certainly increase calls for a merger of the Home nations seats on the executive.

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