Team GB Takes A Hit

25 January 2009
Alyn Smith MEP and Stuart McMillan MSP have welcomed reassurances from Michel Platini, the President of UEFA, that he remains firmly committed to the independent status of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and that UEFA have no plans alter that status.

However, Mr Smith and Mr McMillan remain concerned that Mr Platini's comments, while heartening, offer no guarantee on the future independence of the fournational associations.

Smith and McMillan both view the possible creation of a Team GB for football as a dangerous precedent which could be used by those who seek to undermine or abolish the independent status of the home nations' associations and, as such, remain strongly opposed.

Mr Smith has passed on the letter from Platini to the SFA, and has requested a meeting with Gordon Smith, Chief Executive of the SFA, to discuss the situation.

Mr Smith said:

"This reassurance is welcome, as far as it goes, but in any practical sense does not answer the real question, because to be fair to Michel Platini he leads an organisation of members, some of whom we know want to abolish our independent status, and he cannot see into the future.

"There is no doubt, Team GB will create a precedent and it will be used against us. While Michel Platini can tell us the position now; he cannot and does not give any guarantee that this will not be used against us at a later date.

"Tam Dalyell said in a public meeting with me, tail end of last year, that: "Scotland is a thing for football, but nothing else," but where Tam Dalyell has been honourable and consistent in his views it would seem that Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy do not even see it as that important and are willing to gamble with the independence of the SFA because it suits their politics."

Mr McMillan said:

"Whilst Michel Platini provides this assurance, Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President says that a Team GB football team in 2012 would threaten the independence of the four home nations.

"Under no circumstances should the national status of the four home nations be put in jeopardy for the sake of what is an Under 23s competition.

"Football cannot survive without fans who are the lifeblood of the game. The fans don't want a Team GB and three associations don't want a Team GB. I would have thought that the Prime Minister and the Scottish Secretary would have enough on their plate at the moment without trying to steamroller through this folly."