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Tartan Army to shun Olympic Team GB

THE Tartan Army will shun the all-England Team GB when it takes to the field at the London Olympics.

Scotland supporters will adopt a stance of "passionate indifference" to the side that will represent the whole of the UK at the 2012 event, leading fans said last night.

Supporters' groups had been bitterly opposed to a British team competing at the Games, saying the event could set a precedent that would jeopardise the independence of football associations in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

However, last week the Scottish Football Association reached a compromise with the English FA for a Team GB to go ahead – but without any players from the Celtic nations.

Hamish Husband, spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said the British side should not count on any support from north of the Border. He added: "Scotland supporters won't be watching these games, so we won't be cheering on Team GB. Our attitude is going to be one of passionate indifference. Olympic football has never exactly been electrifying."

Tartan Army clubs up and down Scotland had been drafted in by the SFA to help oppose plans for a single British team representing all four home nations. Husband said he felt the SFA's compromise was "unforgivable". "They have come under an avalanche of political pressure both from Gordon Brown and from some international football authorities," he said. "But we have always been passionately against a Team GB.

"The way we look at it, Team GB is bad for supporters of all the home nations, including England. If there had been a Team GB back in the 1960s, England fans would never have seen Bobby Charlton pull on a white English shirt.

"Your national football loyalties are all about the country you come from. Nobody would ever get excited about a British side in the Olympics. I would never support a Team GB. If there was a British team up against Brazil and the British team was made up of 11 Scots I would still support Brazil."

The SFA last week admitted it had held secret talks with sister organisations in England, Northern Ireland and Wales after being asked by Fifa, the world soccer governing body, to sort out the 2012 Olympic debacle. The British Olympic Association was determined to field a team in the football tournament.

Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame has called for the resignation of Gordon Smith, the SFA chief executive, saying his compromise threatened the future of both the Scottish national side and the Scottish league set-up.

 
 
 

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