Team GB could be rebranded Team UK as part of ‘muscular unionism’ strategy
UK prime minister Boris Johnson is believed to be discussing a rebrand of Team GB to Team UK in a bid to boost the Union.
A senior Whitehall source is quoted as saying the name change would ‘better reflect our commitment to the Union, which includes Northern Ireland.”
It’s part of a wider ‘muscular unionism’ strategy adopted by the UK Government as an attempt to prevent the future break-up of the UK.
The Times reports a Whitehall source as saying: “Team UK would be far more inclusive than Team GB and would better reflect our commitment to the Union, which includes Northern Ireland.”
As Great Britain only covers Wales, Scotland and England, the current Team GB name excludes Northern Ireland.
The official title is ‘Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic team’ but since 1999 the British Olympic Association (BOA) has been using ‘Team GB’.
The ‘muscular unionism’ approach has been seen in Wales with the UK Government’s plans to place a 100 foot high Union Jack on the side of a Cardiff city-centre building.
It’s believed that UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has been consulting with Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis over the potential Team GB change.
The BOA issued a statement in 2016 after receiving complaints about the use of Team GB saying: “The British Olympic Association is the National Olympic Committee for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the UK Overseas Territories (including the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar).
“As such, neither ‘UK’ or ‘GB’ accurately describes the BOA’s remit.”
They said that due to the complications, they had settled on the ‘Team GB’ brand as being the most appropriate.
Wales has experienced similar issues with its treatment by the English cricket authorities.
While the official name for the sport’s governing body is the ‘England and Wales Cricket Board’, the full title is rarely used and it’s officially referred to as the ‘ECB’.
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