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Scots FA oppose MSP Olympic input

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown
Brown launched a Holyrood petition against the idea of a Team GB

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown insists his stance against a GB Olympic football team is not political.

The Scottish FA has warned MSPs to stay out of the debate, following a Scottish Parliament committee plan to write to Fifa seeking clarity on the issue.

Brown helped launch a Holyrood petition opposing the idea last year, fearing the independence of the home nations would be jeopardised by participation.

"I'm speaking on behalf of football," Brown told BBC Scotland.

"Football fans are incensed at the prospect of a threat to the national team.

"Politics has nothing to do with it as far as I'm concerned. I was asked by Christine Graham of the SNP, who is heading up the petition, would I be the first signature and I was fully supportive of it."

The Scottish, Welsh and Irish football associations all oppose a British team for London 2012.

The English association would prefer a team open to players from all four home nations but is prepared to supply the whole squad if necessary.

Fifa has issued assurances that the autonomy of the home nations would not be threatened by a one-off collaboration and Prime Minister Gordon Brown backs the idea of a combined GB team.

But SFA chief executive Gordon Smith is "extremely concerned" by the Holyrood Petitions Committee's decision to get involved after debating a petition opposing the prospect of a Team GB.


If there is one thing that Fifa dislikes, it is political involvement in football issues
Gordon Smith
Scottish FA chief executive

"If there is one thing that Fifa dislikes, it is political involvement in football issues," said Smith.

"This is something that we would, of course, have told the members of the committee had they sought to ask us our views.

"It is also the case that, if they write to Fifa, then they will undoubtedly get a view that they have no issue with a one-off Team GB competing at the London Olympics.

"However, I would have thought that politicians would understand politics better than anyone.

"As we have made clear again and again it is not the view of the current Fifa members that matters - it is the views of members in the future that will count.

"Again, had we been asked, we would have made this clear."

Westminster Culture Secretary Andy Burnham this week insisted no player should be prevented from taking part after SFA president George Peat claimed Fifa counterpart Sepp Blatter had privately undermined the governing body's earlier promises.

The Government's Scots Secretary Jim Murphy had earlier held talks with Fifa and received assurances, which the SFA quickly dismissed as unreliable.

Now the SFA have told politicians and the British Olympic Association to leave the issue alone.

Smith said: "Fans are against Team GB, players are against Team GB and three out of four governing bodies are against Team GB.

"It is time that people at Holyrood, Westminster and the BOA stopped treating this issue as a political football and let football govern football."

Brown, who was in charge when Scotland last reached a World Cup in 1998, would only back a Scottish team at the Olympics if all four home nations were taking part in the competition independently.



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see also
MSPs clarity call on 2012 GB team
03 Mar 09 |  Scotland
Blatter 'warned against Team GB'
01 Mar 09 |  Football
Smith opposed to Olympic football
25 Jan 09 |  Internationals
Olympic football play-offs call
09 Nov 08 |  Scotland
Brown to reassure over Team GB
04 Jan 09 |  Scotland


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