In the last few days much has been made - 'papers, radio, politicians, bloggers - about whether or not a British football team should be entered for the 2012 Olympics and about the reasons why so many Scots (and I assume Welsh and Irish) are very much against the idea. So much comment has been uninformed guff and mischief-making.
My position and, I assume that of many Scots, is very straightforward but, firstly, let me say what is not involved. That I am against the idea of a British football team for the Olympics has:
- nothing to do with never supporting a GB team
- nothing to do with not supporting a team full of English players
- nothing to do with Scotland having few, if any, players in a GB team
- nothing to do with any other sport. Comparisons with, for example, the British Lions are invalid.
- nothing to do with the Olympics being in London
- nothing to do with politics. Politicians, regardless of what they say are playing politics
- nothing to do with devolution
- nothing to do with independence for Scotland
BUT has EVERYTHING to do with not putting at risk Scotland's independence as a footballing nation.
Only in football, as far as I am aware, has there been any suggestion within the ruling body - in football's case this is FIFA - that the four "home" nations should play as one in international competitions. Entering a unified team for 2012 could be taken as a precedent for having a unified team in other major competitions. Despite Sepp Blatter's assurances that this would not happen I am not prepared to take that risk.
I make no comment on why the English FA and, apparently, many English, have a different view. I am in no position to understand their thinking.
I cannot ever risk - however unlikely - Scotland's right to play football as a separate nation.