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Monday, 30 October, 2000, 13:17 GMT
Should European National football teams be abolished?
If you followed the sports pages of any newspaper in England or Germany over the last few weeks you'd think the football world as we know it was coming to an end.
After Kevin Keegan's resignation as England coach, the football authorities faced numerous reports detailing why no sane person would be willing to fill the vacancy.
And in Germany the appointment of the prospective new national manager resulted in a public slanging match, as unprecedented as it was bitter.
Meanwhile clubs from both countries compete happily and successfully in the European Champions League this week.
With all the money and the talent accumulated at European club level, have national teams had their day?
Europe Today's Johannes Dell brought together Philippe Auclair of the BBC French Service and Giancarlo Galavotti of Italy's Gazzetta Dello Sport - a replay of the EURO 2000 final.
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Stephen Kenney, USA
Some things shouldn't be united. There's too much talent that wouldn't have their day in the sun if there were only club teams. Cheering on your own national team in an international contest provides national pride and lifts the spirits of the whole country.
If anything, the national teams will become more needed if the transfer system brakes down. At least the fans will have a rough idea of who will be playing for their country.
Why should national teams be abolished? The one institution in sport, where you can identify with your country? The fact that the English have to behave uncivilised whenever England is playing should not be seen as a reason, for there are nations where people actually enjoy football and party together with the "enemies"...
No way. National football teams have a history to be proud of. The football World Cup is the highlight of the football calendar. It is club football that has got too big and more should be done to redress this balance. A mighty English football team is what the majority of English football fans dream about.
Martin Salt, England
I'd like to say that just because England currently has a poor side which couldn't beat an amateur football team at present due to the complete lack of commitment, there's no need to try and spoil it for the rest of the world. The amount of money these players earn has little to do with it and it is maybe due to the possible call up to a national side that gives many players an incentive to play for their club sides.
National football teams encourage unnecessary aggression and bellicose attitudes. Just look at the English fans whenever that team plays. It is time to put a stop to the nation vs nation mentality in sport.
George Kollias, Greece
Certainly the absurdity of the UK fielding four separate second and third rate teams rather than one united British team should be abolished. This is an historical anomaly dating back to the origins of the game when there were no other countries playing competitive football, and has continued only because Britain wants to retain its unjustifiable over-representation on the governing bodies of international football.
Andy O'Connor, Germany
There is a great importance for International football, at least in terms of qualifying and major tournaments. Perhaps the abolition of friendlies would be better, but there is a great pride (for most players) about representing their country, and I'm sure most players would want these fixtures to remain.
It would be very interesting, though, to have national league competitions to compare how the stars of the Premiership would fair against the best of Serie A or the Primera Liga. It would also show us which foreign players were committed to the Premiership, rather than just here for the money.
Mick Coyle, England
I have be thinking for the past five years that instead of the World Cup involving National teams, that it should involve league squads. So instead of having the England team, you have the English league, made up of players from the English leagues.
Just because the national squad of England is going down the hill, does not justify you posing the question "should European National teams be abolished?" Better get down to work and leave the rhetoric.
There is a big distinction between a club team and a national team. The former serves a role in entertainment. While the latter joins a nation together, fans, non-fans alike.
Being born in Switzerland and then spent 20 years in London and now living near Barcelona still a 100% Gooner I have to say the only time I get patriotic is when Switzerland play.
But most important was last night's result for Arsenal. I could see Europe without National teams. Up the Gunners.
In the case of the UK we should have had a United Britain team long ago! Imagine Best, Law, Toshack... there are so many greats who really never got to play in any important international competitions. Just think what could have been!
Of course not. Who wouldn't want to be on the front row for England vs Germany?
Nick Tanner, Britain
You are only bringing up this topic because England are rubbish at football! If they had done well you wouldn't even have thought of it. If you were Scottish or Irish you wouldn't have thought of it.
It is a sign of our times and a pity for the fans that big stars put more effort on private clubs. But national club competitions are always a show and a treat for millions of people! I would like to see an annual European championship with top teams qualifying for the World Cup every 4 years.
Big football nations in Europe will have
to reconsider their up to the current day
strategies. The football power balance
seems to start slowly shifting towards
other countries (France, Turkey, etc)
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