Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rule Britainna?

'The impact of a British team on the public and their support of the Games will be enormous. We would also expect that team to be a strong medal contender and thereby generate tremendous excitement throughout the country. We must have a team in these Games and we will have a team.'

- Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association

I never understood why the Scots, the Welsh, the English and the Northen Irish have separate football associations and separate leagues. It doesn't make much sense. I mean, Britain doesn't even have a devolved government, right? Why then, would you expect to divide a country's footballing organisation along these lines? No other country does it. It's a bit like the Basques or the Catalans forming their own separate FAs and lodging with FIFA.

There should be a British FA, a British Premier League and a British national football side. For those of us antipodeans who can't distinguish their Scottish accent from their Irish, it'll be a godsend. I'll be able to grunt and say, "you're British, right?", instead of figuring out which of which is surly and which of which is cheerful.

I'm sure it'll be good for football, too. One positive from this would be that Rangers and Celtic would enter the Premier League (after a few promotion seasons). They've been waiting for their chance for a long, long time, and they really do need the better competition to become all they can be. It would make the Premier League much stronger and more competitive. On the downside, two existing English sides will be relegated. On the upside, one of those sides could be Tottenham.

It's a chance I'm willing to take.

So, after 2012, I hope Britain will follow up with the unified football team idea and register as Great Britain with UEFA and FIFA. I think Moynihan's a tad optimistic if he expects any British side to be a "strong medeal contender", but it can't hurt the Olympic side's chances to include guys like Naismith, Gordon, Bale and Ramsey.

Oh, and in Arsenal news, Hleb is talking about us again. I'm not sure what; I can't be bothered reading it. Very tiresome. It's like the guy never left. I thought that after he moved to Barcelona, he'd find something else to occupy his attentions - like forcing his way past Iniesta and Messi, perhaps?

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