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