Page last updated at 20:52 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

MSPs clarity call on 2012 GB team

Craig Brown
Craig Brown has spearheaded a campaign against a GB team

MSPs are to ask world football chiefs whether a GB Olympic side poses a threat to the Scottish national team.

Holyrood's petitions committee made the move following a campaign opposing the plan headed by former Scotland manager Craig Brown.

The Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland football bodies have opposed any such move in case it affects their status within governing body Fifa.

Gordon Brown said he wants to see male and female teams playing in 2012.

MSPs on the committee agreed to write to Fifa and the other football governing bodies involved to clarify their position on the issue - including how binding their current position is on future administrations.

Another twist

Labour MSP Bill Butler has opposed a GB team, despite Labour politicians at Westminster backing it.

He said it would create an "unhappy precedent" which could have unintended consequences, despite any assurances from the world governing body Fifa.

The row took another twist last weekend when SFA president George Peat said he was privately advised by Fifa president Sepp Blatter that the involvement in the London Olympics would jeopardise Scotland's separate status.

But UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has hit back, insisting no player from any part of the UK should be prevented from being picked for the tournament.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy recently gained assurances from Fifa that a one-off under-23s squad in 2012 would not impact on the home nations' standings.

Mr Brown, who led Scotland to World Cup and Euro Championship finals, helped launch a petition opposing the plan last year, with a separate online petition also launched, inviting fans to sign up.

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