UK’s independent footballing nations causing ‘division’ says Conservative editor
The UK’s independent footballing nations are causing division, according to the editor of a Conservative news site.
Henry Hill, the news editor at ConservativeHome, said 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.”
He added that with “saving and strengthening the Union supposedly one of this government’s top priorities, it cannot afford to neglect the question of sport — and football in particular”.
Merging the football leagues of Wales, England and Scotland was another option on the table, he added.
However, he concedes that attempting to create one UK football team to compete at the national level would be very difficult.
“Not even the most muscular of muscular unionists would try to consolidate the four teams into a British national side, of course,” he said.
“Even a happy warrior in the cause of shuttering the Scottish parliament must concede the impossibility of that vision.”
He instead suggests that more emphasis be put on ensuring a UK football team at the Olympics.
“Even without a national team, there must surely be ways to lend a greater British dimension to the beautiful game?” he asks.
The suggestion did not go down well on social media, with Thomas Mark Baker remarking: “I actually think the one thing that would plunge Wales headlong in to nationalism is taking away its sports teams.”