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EDITIONS
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.


Your reaction

You are only one step away from abolishing national Olympic teams as well

Stephen Kenney, USA
If you abolish national football teams, then by natural progression, you are only one step away from abolishing national Olympic teams as well. Are you ready for a EU Olympic team? The more national institutions you do away with, for whatever reason, the less likely you'll have a sense of nationhood at all. Would that be a good thing?
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.
Matt Jackson, USA

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.
Mark Boyns, England

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"...
Andy, Scotland

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.
Rob Fletcher, UK

What's the point of abolishing international football?

Martin Salt, England
What's the point of abolishing international football? Certainly the World Cup is the most interesting part of the football calendar. International sides allow players in teams like Man United and Real Madrid to show their real skills in very diverse styles of teams. International football is what created foreign teams in the Premier League.
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.
David Stewart, Britain

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.
Steve, UK

The national team is the last thing that has not yet been conquered by greed

George Kollias, Greece
As far as football is concerned, the national team is the last thing that has not yet been conquered by greed. Furthermore, it is one of the few things that still has the magic ability to bring the people of a country together. Just because a team might perform badly it doesn't mean that it should be abolished. If that was the case, Greece would have ceased to have had a national team ages ago.
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.
John, Canada

Never ever should a football fan be denied of watching his country play

Andy O'Connor, Germany
This question has to be the joke of the century. Never ever should a football fan be denied of watching his country play. The World Cup every four years is the biggest and greatest sporting event there is, easily beating the Olympics. Who in their right mind could imagine England never playing there again? Incredulous!
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.
Perhaps also make sure there are less mismatches, so that France or Holland won't have to play teams like Andorra or San Marino, which DO devalue internationals.
Rich Nelson, England

Once England start playing some decent football under a decent manager, people will be singing about how great international football is

Mick Coyle, England
Once England start playing some decent football under a decent manager, people will be singing about how great international football is. With the new talent that is sweeping through the Premiership (Wes Brown, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole etc) it will only be a short time before England will have a great national team again.
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.
This would then prove who has the greatest league in the World and generate more interest from bigger players and bigger investors.
Clive Washbourne, USA/UK

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.
Stelios Papadopoulos, Cyprus

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.
Jun, Chinese (in Norway)

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.
Albert Buchmann, Spain/England/Switzerland

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!
Norman Clarke, United States

Of course not. Who wouldn't want to be on the front row for England vs Germany?
Kevin, USA

Any player, irrespective of nationality, should be eligible for selection to the nation's side WHERE he plays in the Super-League

Nick Tanner, Britain
No, although ULTIMATELY that should be the goal. An interim measure MUST be a European Club Super League from whose national clubs the national sides should be selected. Based strictly on the sides they have in that League. Any player, irrespective of nationality, should be eligible for selection to the nation's side WHERE he plays in the Super-League. In which case, England, for example, would be able to select the likes of Pierre Barthes, Gianfranco Zola or Karl-Heinz Riedle. And there would be no way they could object, since it would be written into their Super-League contract.
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.
Allan Taggart, Scotland (but I am in Colombia)

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.
Aris, Canada

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)
Asking to abolish the national teams sounds like a scapegoat, in the face of changes. Let's be realistic and look for why things went wrong asking the right questions. Is it a matter of education? Is it a matter of money replacing national identity? If yes then, what are the things that can make the national identity overpower the shine of money?
Creativity and will are the key elements.
Nicos, Greece

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