Scots MPs back British Olympic soccer team

A GROUP of Scotland-linked MPs have lent their backing to a United Kingdom football team competing at the London Olympics in 2012.

A total of 18 MPs who are either Scottish or represent Scottish constituencies signed a Commons motion saying football "should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage".

The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.

But the motion comes after assurances from world governing body Fifa that Team GB would not jeopardise the status of any home nation.

Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, said recently that he had spoken to Fifa's general secretary who told him the body was likely to view the Olympic competition as a "one-off under-23 tournament".

The 18 Scotland-linked MPs were among 21 to sign an Early Day Motion put down by Labour's Jim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North).

It reads: "This House welcomes the assurances given by Fifa that a 2012 Olympics UK football team would not undermine any of the home countries' ability to compete in their own right in future events."

It was signed by 12 Labour colleagues with seats north of the Border, as well as David Mundell, the shadow Scot- tish secretary, (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale).

The MPs are: John Robertson (Glasgow North West), Jim Devine (Livingston), Jim Hood (Lanark and Hamilton East), Brian Donohoe (Ayrshire Central), Anne Moffat (East Lothian), Mohammad Sarwar (Glasgow Central), Anne McGuire (Stirling), Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway), Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and Falkirk East), Anne Begg (Aberdeen South), Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West) and Jim McGovern (Dundee West).

Other Labour MPs putting their names to the motion were Edinburgh-born Doug Henderson (Newcastle Upon Tyne North), Greenock-born Andy Love (Edmonton), Coatbridge-born Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) and Dumfries-born Ian Gibson (Norwich North). Labour colleagues David Anderson (Blaydon), Alan Keen (Feltham and Heston) and Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston) also signed it.