Tuesday, 22 November 2011

At last! The sensible argument against Team GB

At least it's a Welshman that's come out and said it.......

World hurdling champion Dai Greene is quoted on BBC Wales as saying:
"I don't think the football team should be there in the first place. I hope that those big names don't overshadow those people who have trained for four years to be there for that one moment. These guys have four to five weeks off in the summer then become an Olympian. It does seem a little bit out of place.
These guys want to win Premierships, Champions League trophies and World Cup medals. They don't grow up wanting to be an Olympic champion, they want to be the best in football. The crowning glory in football isn't being Olympic champion so I don't think their sport should necessarily be involved - or at least at a professional level."

Thank you Dai.

The "threat" to national teams independent status is the eye-catching reason for opposition to Team GB, but the best reason against it is far simpler.

The Olympics are about "being the best". It's supposed to be the pinnacle for sports that don't have an important or clearly defined World Championship. It's something those pushing Team GB have conveniently forgotten.

Olympic football is a redundant sideshow that players like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are far too good to play in. It's an under-23 competition that only South American and African countries have ever put any hard effort into trying to win in modern Olympics, and will be completely overshadowed by the European Championships. I'd be surprised if either Tottenham or Arsenal even release Bale and Ramsey, in what will be the late preparation period for the 2012-13 Premier League season.

There are several Olympic sports that the UK has never competed competitively in. Team GB have cobbled together makeshift teams for sports like basketball, handball and of course football, because they don't want to "lose face" as hosts.

If I were - for example, a German - I'd consider playing against a British handball team on the biggest sporting stage an insult.

I'd also be furious if I were a British athlete, whose silver medal has been taken off the back pages, because Team GB have drawn with Cameroon Under-23s thanks to a David Beckham assist.

Obviously from my perspective, it would be ideal if there were a Welsh Olympic team. However, I don't begrudge Welsh athletes competing under the Union flag in events like athletics or cycling. That's the way they've always done it (Commonwealth games aside) and for them it's the highlight of their career.

Let's not take anything away from them for the sake of saving Seb Coe's blushes.


  1. What do u make of the claim that 2 out of 3 people in Wales support team GB? I didn't think it would be that many. And I suppose a lot of people aren't aware of the issues.

  2. I wouldn't be surprised if it were that high Anon. Your casual sports fan looking forward to the Olympics would no doubt throw their weight behind it and see football as no different from any other of the other sports.

    However ask Welsh football fans alone and the levels would likely be different and I'd guess more against than in favour though not unanimous one way or another.

  3. I doubt that 2 out of 3 fans would be for Team GB. However, I bet if Yougov had asked are you in favour of Team GB if it means an end to the Welsh national football team the answer may have been markedly different. I also find their 'findings' about Swansea being the best supported team in Wales a little hard to believe too. Most kids that I know, and lets face it, they're the ones who are most likely to change for glory hunting reasons,still support Man Utd or Chelsea even Man City. Swansea doesn't even register at the moment.

  4. And let's not forget, Spain, Switzerland and Belarus have qualified to play in the Olympics on the basis of the performance of their under 21s teams. They can now select three players who were ineligible to take part in the qualification process, possibly displacing three young footballers who did take part. Where's the Olympic spirit in that.