Why is that when the Olympics roll around, Team GB competes for these isles, but at the equivalent World Cup, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (the UK "nations") have their own potential teams. This seems odd, if not wrong. Surely, a British football team would make more sense, - in terms of sure-footedness. There is no English parliament, and no England seat at the UN. France, Brazil, Spain, South Africa, the US of A - all teams. There is no Texas team. England maybe should be its own nation state, just as Scotland and Wales could be (should be?) - but in the meantime, let's consider this - if all four of the great nations of the UK played together in the beautiful game's greatest contest, they'd quadruple their chances of raising the trophy high.


Surely Todd, being a British-Canadian-irish person, you'd be able to articulate these cultural subtleties?
Todd Swift said…
Ha! Yes, true. My multiculturalism comes from a Canadian context, I suppose - where fierce inter-provincial rivalries tend to stay within the country's borders - competitions abroad are as a Team Canada, not Team Quebec (the size of England and more) or Team Alberta (ditto).
Sheenagh Pugh said…
Because football's more tribal than that? A lot of fans don't look beyond one team, let alone one country, and "Britain" only has a discernible identity to some. A lot of English people use it synonymously with England, while for many Scots, Welsh and Irish it symbolises either, again, England/imperialism, or something nebulous and invented that they don't feel part of.
David Floyd said…
While things would have been different 20 or even 10 years ago, I don't think England's chances would increase much if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland joined them in a British team now.

It's possible no Scottish, Wales or Northern Irish players would get in the squad. At the very most there would be two or three.
Alan Baker said…
There may be a more prosaic reason for the separate teams; historically, separate Football Associations evolved, and that's what FIFA bases its 'nationality' on. However, I think the creation of a Scottish parliament - even with its limited powers - has helped, paradoxically, to create a sense of English nationalism that didn't exist last time England won the World Cup (the flag of choice then was the Union Jack).
Todd Swift said…
Alan, thanks for that cogent explanation!

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