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UK Government should overrule Welsh FA and create Great Britain team says Conservative editor

16 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
The last time Great Britain fielded a men’s football team at the 2012 Olympics. Picture by Gerry Balding (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The UK Government should overrule the Welsh and other football associations and ensure that a men’s Great British football team competes at any future Olympic games, according to the editor of a Conservative news site.

Henry Hill, the news editor at ConservativeHome, said that in order to save the UK, the population would require the “unifying rituals” of supporting a British national team.

He also called for the UK Government to use its new post-Brexit powers to overrule Welsh and Scottish devolution in order to fund a football Team GB directly.

“It will doubtless upset critics of ‘muscular unionism’, but there should be no requirement for all four football associations to sign off on a British Olympic squad,” Henry Hill wrote in the Telegraph.

“Fortunately, it now has the tools to do this. Section 50 of the UK Internal Market Act, which gives the Government new powers to spend extra money in areas of devolved competence, explicitly lists ‘activities, projects and events relating to sport’ as permissible grounds for such investment.

“Given that Olympic football is mostly for younger players, why not create a nationwide, Team GB-branded scheme to invest in football, identify young talent, and give them the opportunity to represent their country? Or if they prefer, their other country?

“This might not be in keeping with the razor-focus on gold medals that typically guides our Olympic investment, but UK Sport can scarcely object if it’s paid for with additional cash.”

‘Bolster’

He also called for a united British Super League to replace the separate Welsh, Scottish and English premier leagues.

“This would fit well with other measures reportedly being considered by the Government, such as trying to create a ‘British Super League’ by allowing top-flight Scottish teams to join their Welsh counterparts in the Premier League and the FA Cup,” he said.

“A successful strategy to strengthen the United Kingdom will exploit any opportunity both to bolster British institutions and connect them to communities. Investing in Olympic football, and giving our girls maximum support, would be a good place to start.”

Its is the second time in two months Henry Hill has called for a united British team, after saying that Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland having their own “sub-national” teams and leagues was damaging to Unionism.

“It’s a shame that the UK doesn’t have a national football team of its own during events like the Euros,” he wrote in the Spectator.

“The game is a natural focus for patriotic pride across the world, but here it can only spotlight our divisions. This seems to have become much more the case over the past few decades, with the rise of nationalism and the apparent retreat of the Union Jack from the stands.”

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Stuart Cane
Stuart Cane
2 months ago

If you want to unite Welsh, English, Scottish and NI football fans, a good way to start would be to tell them you want to abolish their beloved football team! I’m sure you would get a very united and consistent reply!

Alan Reilly
Alan Reilly
2 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Cane

In fairness the frothing bigots who follow the fourth of those teams would probably be very keen on supporting such a team… well, as part of a “Greater Scotland” perhaps given most of them are so confused they actually hate the English despite sponging off them and raging about being “British”.

Mark Archer
Mark Archer
2 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Cane

The article is about the Olympics. Not FIFA and UEFA competitions.

Why would England want a GB team in the Euros or World Cup?

By anyone’s reckoning they are an excellent side.

If they had wanted Kiefer Moore or Sam Vokes, I am sure it wouldn’t have taken much.

Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

Why would ANY of the nations want a GB team?
Do you have some twisted fixation with making everything about England? That’s some ego there

Paul
Paul
2 months ago

His conclusions are spurious. There has never been a united UK football association, individual national FAs long predate the troubles that the Union finds itself. So why would trying to purge national identities, and shoe horn in another, help? In short it will not.

Violating the devolution referendums and imposing one without consent will break the union far quicker than anything Plaid, SNP or Sinn Fein can do.

Eifion
Eifion
2 months ago

Yay, another English related soccer story, move on guys, less soccer and England please.

Iwan
Iwan
2 months ago
Reply to  Eifion

Aye because dootball doesn’t exist in Wales does it? 🥴

Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Iwan

I’m not sure dootball exists anywhere 😉

Jack
Jack
2 months ago

Genuine question but why does everyone freak out at the idea of a men’s Team GB but there actually is a women’s Team GB competing next week & no one seems to care?

(For the record I’m against the idea of Team GB for football in both men’s and women’s, just a bit puzzled by the double standard)

Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Because the England, Wales, Scotland and NI teams exist. Any Team GB would a) Insult the Northern Irish by doing to them, what the UKBIN flag does to Cymru b) Take players form the national teams they actually feel an anffinity with c) Irrespective of talent, ensure the team is full of English with a token player from other nations d) Be as pointless as the British Lions (4 yearly SH jolly for wealthy fat blokes and retirees) e) Be even more irrelevant than golf or F1 As regards the less opposition to a women’s Team GB (again 90% English… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Chris
Jack
Jack
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Yea I get all those points. I understand why it’s so unpopular (I hate the idea) but it’s interesting how a theoretical men’s team causes outrage when a women’s team actually exists.

I don’t even think football should be an Olympic sport at all. The men’s and women’s world cups are a bigger deal.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

In regards to the Lions. I love it when advocates of Team GB use the ‘If it works with the Lions then it can work with GB football’. They ignore 2 things…. 1) The Lions represents from 2 Sovereign states, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, therefore in no way can it be classified as a national team in the way Team GB could. 2) Rugby’s popularity does not anywhere near enjoy the global popularity that football does. If World Rugby ever changed their membership criteria forcing Great Britain to play as one they would be committing economic… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Rob
Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

The history of the British and Irish Lions is very much not about two sovereign states, its about four rugby nations whose relations in the context of the team are very much as equals with leaders and coaches coming variably from all four at different times. This is why rugby fans buy into it, it’s a genuine pooling of resources every four years and is neither a takeover by the biggest nor a threat to the identity or existence of any of the four as individual countries. Perhaps the Ryder Cup is the nearest equivalent?

Jon Darby
Jon Darby
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

UK isn’t a sovereign state

Alan Reilly
Alan Reilly
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

In fairness, insulting a few confused Irishmen and Irishwomen shouldn’t trouble anyone as in any case whether north, south, east, west any decent Irish person supports the Ireland team and not the KKK version which plays at Windsor Park.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

The politics around the BOA and England FA being the sole British football body they will deal with stinks. It is complex but the English FA are as selfish, greedy, insecure and stupid as any other right wing bunch in England.

Keith Evans
Keith Evans
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I’m opposed to both,I suppose the answer is in the women’s game the Olympics are held as a major tournament,in the men’s not so.Of course simple sporting misogony ,I in the past guilty of this,the women’s game was just insignificant for so long.

DarkMrakeford
DarkMrakeford
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

There are also people who support a mens Team GB but don’t actually watch the womens Team GB.

In otherwords, not that many care in this context.

Jon Darby
Jon Darby
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Not sure it was proposed as an either or.
You created your own confusion.

Chris
Chris
2 months ago

Does wee Henry (of course his name’s Henry) think that the Welsh FA are a government body that the Tories can seize control of?

With that kind of intelligence I can kind of see why so many Tories still think Boris is doing a good job.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 months ago

Not a clue. The English FA would set a nutter with a flare up his fundament on this ignoramus.
Each of the associations has one vote at FIFA/UEFA. Once amalgamated they would get just one. There is no way on earth that the English FA would accept that.They caused grief over Team GB at the Olympics and got slapped down hard by the other three FAs.
I am not surprised that a Tory came up with such ill-informed rubbish and even less so when it is an advocate of “muscular unionism” like Hill. These people are close to barking mad.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 months ago

When are these clowns going to realise – the Union is finished – gone are the days of of being forced into doing things. Yes, there’s this Internal Market Act and they may get away with bullying for a while as a result but ultimately – it will just lead to independence for Wales and Scotland sooner.

arthur owen
arthur owen
2 months ago

I think FIFA would have something to say about this,they may not be able to stop it but they certainly would be able to stop this team playng in any of their, or UEFA,competitions.But it may not come to that England fans would probably kill it.

Mike Cross
Mike Cross
2 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

This is political interference in football. I’ve seen countries expelled from tournaments for less than this

Mark
Mark
2 months ago

I don’t follow football at all, but this tory can go forth and multiply! Do these people ever think things through before opening their mouths, to override official sporting bodies would be suicidal, although, that johnson is a funny bloke, makes me larff, I’ll vote for him 😉

Last edited 2 months ago by Mark
Rob
Rob
2 months ago

If the Union is going to survive then I would suggest a counter intuitive strategy. Devo-max four all four nations including England (which would be separate from the UK Government), an Upper Chamber equally accountable to all four countries of the UK. I know a lot of people here just want independence (& understandably so), but I do believe that that would keep the Union together in the long run. Instead we have a populist right wing reactionary government that doesn’t think of anything in the long term. The Internal Market Act, muscular Unionism, forcing Britishness down out throats without… Read more »

Richard Y Cymro
Richard Y Cymro
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

This isn’t an attack on the English people themselves, but a swipe at their establishment that doesn’t want equality for all four home nations of Britain, but to have one, England, ruling over the other three. After all, this is how the faux British Union began. With threats of war. Invasion and annexation. Well it did for Wales. See Act of Union 1535 -1542.

Marc Arkless
Marc Arkless
2 months ago

This Tory government thinks it can tame a bear by poking it with a stick! I’m really beginning to think that they secretly want to break up the UK , let’s hope!

DarkMrakeford
DarkMrakeford
2 months ago

Take a look at the Womens Team GB squad for the Tokyo Olympics on wikipedia.

Notice how 1 out of 23 players is Welsh, 2 Scots, 20 English players. An absolute pointless team, am I meant to feel passionate for players who have never played in my domestic league? Or should I feel passionate because they play for a club that’s 100+ miles away?

Glen
Glen
2 months ago

And no doubt this “Great Britain team” will wear white kit, play home games at Wembley and consist almost entirely of English players.

As the whale said to Jonah, “we are one, and I am that one”.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
2 months ago

Thank you Henry Hill for reminding us that the post-BREXIT UK internal market legislation contains powers that can used to undermine devolution and crush diversity. Even those of us with little interest in soccer should be aware how far the post-BREXIT power grab by Westminster can reach.

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago

They’ll try anything, even football, to keep us in this failing state that would rather buy a royal yacht than properly fund the most needy.

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago

…. And the anthem will be????…..

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
2 months ago

Britain isn’t a country, no

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
2 months ago
Reply to  Notta Bott

Also Viva Gareth Bale

Lyndespair
Lyndespair
2 months ago

Perhaps if someone suggests to him that the EU should have overruled Member States (actually “it” can’t – the EU is an inter-governmental organisation in which the Member States call the shots and there is no “it” to overrule them, but he won’t see that) and insisted on one EU team he might see the problem? But he won’t have the imagination to be able to transfer his feelings about a situation where his sort is not in charge to one where they are, and to see how those forced into a situation they hate would feel when he is… Read more »

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 months ago

We’ve just seen how certain English ‘fans’ abuse their own players for missing a penalty. Imagine the reaction if GB lost a penalty shootout where a Welsh, Scot or Irish player was involved! Even worse if the player was also black.
Definitely no takers for this ‘cunning plan’ from HH. I doubt Baldrick himself would have come up with it.

Alan Reilly
Alan Reilly
2 months ago

Henry Hill is pretty poorly informed for a supposed journalist. What he proposes would see his team effectively defunct before it ever kicked a ball given FIFA bar associations which are interfered with by political bodies.

I suppose his team could always apply to join Conifa.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
2 months ago

Llongyfarchiadau, Henry Hill, you have succeeded in coming up with a laughable proposal that deftly combines offensiveness and sheer stupidity. I have spotted the fundamental flaw: when it comes to professional sport (and much else besides) the “natural focus for patriotic pride” in the case of Welsh and Scottish people is respectively Cymru and Scotland, not the British state.

Gloyw
Gloyw
2 months ago

I always thought Harri Hill was a good comedian.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 months ago
Reply to  Gloyw

I wonder which one is best. HH the comedian or HH the Conservative news editor?
Only one way to decide…

George
George
2 months ago

It’s generally recognised that accommodation an Olympic team puts independence of FAW/SFA/IFA at risk. Say no thank you always.

John Rogers
John Rogers
2 months ago

There is a process called evolution. That is to say that over a period of time a situation will change in a natural and acceptable way. If you attempt to force this process artificially it inevitably results in failure and creates a system that will complicate even further that which it was was to improve or solve.
To put it simply, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 months ago

A GB football team? It would be like combing a hydrogen molecule with nitric oxide, I say to Henry Hill
H2NO!

Richard Y Cymro
Richard Y Cymro
2 months ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Man’s a poet. 😎🤘

Richard Y Cymro
Richard Y Cymro
2 months ago

And Brexiteers said the EU was our bogeyman. Yeah, right! Never embrace your abuser. And this is the very reason I want Welsh Independence. To get away from ones who want to ram this thinly veiled Britishness down our throats. This faux Britishness that omits my nation from its Union Flag & Royal Standard. Britishness that bans my language being spoken in House of Commons, but allows English and Norman French. Britishness that ever since 1997 had its minions to hinder and undermine Welsh devolution, who continually rejects our requests for the devolution of Policing and Criminal Justice even though… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Y Cymro

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