State Of The Nations

Apropos nothing, I got involved in a debate today over the involvement of a British football team in the 2012 Olympic Games. It has dawned upon me over the course of the afternoon that this is a subject that I haven’t tackled on here before, so (stifle your yawns, boys and girls) here we go. Unlike football and rugby, the Olympic games sees the United Kingdom enter a unified team. It always has done. This has created a problem for British involvement in the Olympics football tournament, because the International Olympic Committee won’t let separate English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish teams compete. It has to be, as it stands, a single, unified British team. The Olympic Football tournament, you may or may not be surprised to know, pre-dates the World Cup by a considerable amount of time. After enormous amounts of tinkering, the IOC and FIFA, they arrived at a solution which allows the competition to be a meaningful competition without threatening the status of the World Cup. Since 1992, it has been an under-23 tournament, with three over-age players allowed per squad. There is no question that there will be a football tournament at the 2012 Olympics, of course. It will be one of the big money-spinners of the whole event, but will the hosts be there? Well, the British Olympic Association met at the end of...

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