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July 02, 2015


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This particular variety of assholism has been coming out of the SFA for years. The SFA, FAW and IFA are convinced - on the basis of no evidence whatsoever - that FIFA and UEFA want to merge them with the FA and operate a single national UK team in the World Cup.

Rugby Union, which also operates separate teams for England, Scotland and Wales, has already agreed to field a joint GB side for the Olympics because of IOC intransigence. Rugby has an all-island Ireland side, which will technically compete for the Republic of Ireland in the Olympics, using a technicality that everyone from Northern Ireland is entitled to citizenship in the Republic.

The IOC's main objection is that they don't want to have separate England/Wales/Scotland teams in some sports and a GB team in others.

If wanting unified national teams is the IOC's only objection, then their position is entirely reasonable! It would be kicking the decision back to the United Kingdom. Does it want to field four teams or one?

I suspect, however, that there is more going on.

The SFA are worried that fielding any GB team in the Olympics will be the first step on a slippery slope to having to field a unified team for the European and World Cups and having to run a unified league structure. There's no desire whatsoever on the part of Scottish football supporters for a GB team. Great Britain is a thing that does not exist in soccer. It would be seen as the de facto English team and not well supported in Scotland. The prospect of having to run a unified league is a worry. Whilst it probably works out okay for Celtic who can probably expect to gain and hold a place in the FA Premiership it's a worry for larger Scottish clubs and towns like Aberdeen or Dundee or Hearts and Hibs in Edinburgh who might struggle to ever reach the Premiership and consequently would lose access to the Champions League and Europa League compititions. It's like fatal for smaller Scottish Clubs like Inverness or Partick or Motehrwell who depend on television money from a league that includes Celtic and Aberdeen and co and home games against the Old Firm clubs and their 30,000 strong travelling support. IF those clubs end up in a unified league structure they probably cease to exist over the medium term. those are Scottish Premiership clubs - what happens to clubs in the lowest division of the Scottish league who end up in the Blue Square conference?

So, for Scotland and the SFA not a lot of upside as no one in Scotland really wants a Team GB and lots of potential downside in the bankruptcy of many Scottish clubs.

Now, why the SFA think league unification is a risk I don't know but I think that it what they are worried about.

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