Although the roster will not be released until next week it was revealed today that the Team Great Britain Olympic football team will contain no Scottish (or Northern Irish players). At least two Scottish players (Steven Fletcher and Barry Bannan) had been mentioned by name by coach Stuart Pearce, and several others player’s names (Jamie Mackie, Jordan Rhodes, James Forrest, et. al) have also been bandied about in recent months. Sadly, in my opinion, several Welsh players- including at least Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy- have chosen to play for Team GB. It’s too early to tell if this will have negative consequences for the Welsh National team down the line, but I hope not.
Whatever happens to Wales in the future or to Team GB at the London Olympics, Scotland and Northern Ireland have- at the very least- not given FIFA any sort of ammunition or precedent to eliminate them as footballing nations. In short, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not allowed FIFA to put a foot in the door- they have shut it on them. Should FIFA’s administration or members wish to move against the independence of the Scottish or Northern Irish F.A. they will have to do it in an unprovoked manner.
Well done to both F.A.s, to the players of both nations who gave up a special personal opportunity for the greater good of their nation’s footballing future, the supporters groups (including those made up of England supporters), and for the fine folks over at No Team GB who took up the cause both at home and abroad, online and in person, to make this happen.