Sir Robin blasts SFA for no Team GB

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By Cara Sulieman

THE SCOTS-BORN mayor of the London borough hosting the 2012 Olympics has blasted the SFA for blocking a British football team.

Sir Robin Wales is furious that there won’t be a UK team taking part in the football tournament saying it would be the only way for Scotland to “be in with a chance of qualifying for something”.

The Kilmarnock supporter is the civic head of Newham, where most of the Olympics main venues are based, including the athletes’ village.

Speaking about the decision to only have English players in the British team, the 55-year-old said: “It may not be popular with everyone but why not have a British football team?

“Shame”

“At least that way Scotland would be in with a chance of qualifying for something.

“When I’m down here, I have to watch the football alone with a Scottish colleague because of the ribbing we get from England fans.

“The SFA should hang their heads in shame. There are just not enough young players being brought through for the Scottish side.

“A British team are liable to win something. It’s such a shame that more isn’t being done in Scottish football.”

Sir Robin sits on the London Organising Committee for Olympic Games.

Football associations agreed a deal to allow an all-English team to compete under the Team GB banner at the Games.

“Disaster”

Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland football associations dropped their objections to a British team as long as no players from their countries were approached.

Simon Johnston, of the supporters’ group No Team GB and a member of the Tartan Army, said: “He is right to say there are issues about investment in young players but there us no way that creating a British team with players from all home nations is going to be a good thing.

“We want to keep Scotland as autonomous as possible.

“The British team at the 2012 Olympics is really just the England team by another name.

“To have Scotland players and other nations in the UK squad would be a disaster by severely jeopardising the independent status of the four home associations.”

“Out of touch”

An SFA spokesman said: “We have made this perfectly clear for a number of years now and our stance has not changed.

“This is a view shared by our colleagues in Wales and Northern Ireland, and indeed, it was one of the contributory factors in establishing the Four Nations tournament – which will also include the Republic of Ireland – due to commence next year.

“We will always do what is in the best interests of Scottish football and feel strongly that we must preserve our status as an independent member of FIFA, which is exactly why we will not be involved in Team GB.”

And the SNP blasted the Labour politicians, saying he was “out of touch”.

A spokesman said: “Sir Robin’s comments are out of touch with reality and public opinion.

“The Labour Party seem to be stuck in a realm of confusion on almost every issue.

“Nobody wants a Team GB – not the public, not the Tartan Army and not the Scottish Football Association.

“They are the experts in this case and their view must be listened to.”

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