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Feb 6 17 9:44 PM

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So I've kept [some of] you waiting long enough, now to lay out the basics of my highly-anticipated idea for your constructive criticisms.

From the mind that recently showed the world (well, this forum at least) a reformatted South American World Cup Qualifiers and expanded UEFA Champions League, and not yet shown the world moneymakers such as NFL pre-season tournaments and drunk basketball league, comes a (currently purely hypothetical) proposal which you could probably piece together just by the title and the category this topic is in.

So the concept, at its core, stems from this, to 'fill the gap' of sorts and have an international team to play under the flag and identity of Great Britain / United Kingdom, with the lack of Great Britain football teams at the Olympic Games being the main 'cause' that such a thing should aim to promote (obviously not as important an issue as some of the things that ConIFA members are fighting for, but something to exist for regardless).

I would be near the front of the queue to complain if such a team was interpreted as an attempt to replace the Home Nations, which would be why the hypothetical team (and accompanying FA) would take on a name clearly defining the intention to show a Great Britain team that can operate simultaneously (in a secondary manner) to the traditional Home Nations, like Sapmi with the countries it covers. So on first attempt I came up with the name 'Great Britain Supplementary Football Association' (GBSFA), or 'Supp GB' in its social media-friendly form.

Now to condense the post a little, the basics of some random ideas I've had to outline the concept:
  • The scope of the FA - to participate not only in the 'traditional' forms of football, but to try and get GB teams in more unconventional settings, so any kind of football variant would be fair game.
  • Domestic front - a 'GB Open Cup' club competition to serve as a profit generator fund-raiser through sponsors/registration fees? Also maybe a lottery of some kind smiley: wink.
  • Potential players - open-ended (ties into my question from a couple of weeks ago).
  • Player 'nationality' - using Olympic team eligibility (without age restriction) as the starting point, players qualifying for any of the following would be eligible for Supp GB, with possible exceptions to allow Bermuda/Cayman Islands etc. to join the list.
  • Opponents - team should ideally be flexible enough to be able to range from playing a FIFA member at its high point to taking on a micronation on the other end of the spectrum, partly on non-restrictive idealism and partly to try and prove it can be done, although just keeping all those options open would probably be good enough.
  • Player recruitment - could naturally be a similar situation to opponents, as the above would potentially lend itself to going from professional-level players one match to 'anyone with a passport' in the next (or vice-versa). Obviously winning is the aim for every match but would there be any consequences (political/reputational) from being that open-minded about who plays and against what, even if they are all friendlies?
Feedback - As a diagnosed pipe-dreamer, I can understand if my views on this are a bit tinted, and while I wouldn't be thinking of trying anything until I have a much more concrete set-up in mind (and probably a few other people on board), I do feel as though there's some kind of potential and room for a Great Britain team in representative football considering some much smaller names have been going for years.

I just find it surprising that no-one seems to have tried anything like it before, but obviously the points I made are a bit rough around the edges. So key questions are:

- Is it possible to be gimmicky and serious at the same time? The way I see it, without FIFA membership or a 'worthy' cause (not that I think it's unworthy, but there would be some negativity against it), you can either go through the motions and aim to be successful with the very best players that you can find (more on that below) in what could be a very low-profile and potentially expensive approach, or try and make use of the resources available in a big nation and attempt a balance of competitiveness and attention.

Tapping into the current trend of 'YouTube footballers', there would probably a lot of them who would jump at the chance to make a video of an 'international call-up', is it devaluing the effort if they can bring in a few million views (potentially raising profile of the GB team, the opponents, the respective causes, etc.) compared with an equally-skilled non-YouTuber? Could the same theory apply to 'auctioning' a place in a squad to the highest bidder?

And as much as I think he deserves a chance on the international stage, if one of the first call-ups was for Adebayo Akinfenwa would the quick headlines outweigh the 'prestige' of it all even if he was one of the team's best players?

- What would be the hypothetical 'ceiling' be for realistically calling up players? This on the basis of the players only doing so for national pride / exposure (and maybe the match payment of a biscuit afterwards), so no money and they might have talk things over with their club to gain release... although no such limits on retired club players (recently or otherwise). Not quite comparable but Panjab have used players from the 5th/6th tier of English football.

- Potential coaches? Ideally you want someone British, worldly, experienced, a lot of free time, looking for some kind of redemption... Roy Hodgson? Glenn Hoddle? Wee Gordon?

- Political stuff - while it should ideally be a self-sustaining operation, carrying the name and flag of Great Britain might naturally draw some attention for the wrong reasons (like that China/Tibet/Greenland/Denmark incident), however clearly it is stressed that the team does not nessecarily represent the views of its country. For example, I would have no problem with Supp GB playing a match against Chagos Islands, but would the world's newest power couple (Donresa? Theronald?) see things the same way, and would they have any kind of ability to stop it?

- And lastly - How do you actually set up an FA?

Any other comments/suggestions welcome, obviously this idea's only been in my head for a few months so I've just laid out a mess of my random collected thoughts on it here for judgement to be passed (and partly for my 'D-grade in law' way of claiming ownership of the concept). If this falls flat I'm dumping the idea and throwing myself behind drunk basketball instead...
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#1 [url]

Feb 7 17 12:07 AM

> I do feel as though there's some kind of potential and room for a Great Britain team in representative football

Personally I don't, but let's not let that get in the way here.

If the team is supposed to represent Great Britain (or rather, the United Kingdom) as a whole, then it should have the best eligible players, or at least be aiming to get them in the long run, otherwise it is a contradiction in terms. To get the best players (or even half decent ones) you would need some connection with the FA and the professional club game. Going along the lines of those celebrity charity matches might be necessary to get players released. Indeed, tbh, I can't see anything other than a charity game or maybe an occasional one-off like a rugby Lions tour, or an anniversary game.

Alternatively, if it is supposed to represent the demographic who is pro-GB (instead of or in addition to home nations individually) then you could probably just pick anybody who was keen. Similarly, perhaps you could use it as a sort of pro-diversity anti-Brexit showcase, i.e. pick a team of 11 British citizens who were all refugees or something.

Another idea might be to use it as a showcase for players who are British (by citizenship) but have no clear "natural" affiliation to a particular home nation (birth or parentage). E.g. Channel Islanders, dual citizens, immigrants, etc, or just people within Britain from mixed heritage e.g. English & Scottish parents. You could even enforce that as an extra eligibility criterion: players must be eligible for more than one of the home nations to qualify for the UK team.

Anyway, it would probably be better to have one clear idea of what you want to do with it yourself, as it would be very confusing to have multiple simultaneous concepts, and you're only likely to spend any effort and time on the things that interest you.

Setting up an FA: the usual trajectory would be to first have a group of like-minded people and/or some clubs in need of a governing body. You're more at the stage of forming a sort of Society for the Promotion of the Idea of [whatever the idea actually is], which might be a way off forming an FA in the traditional sense. On the other hand, any old copy/paste constitution and a website seems to be enough these days.

I suppose you could just do a thought experiment of seting one up and applying to FIFA and seeing what happens.

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TheRoonBa

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#2 [url]

Feb 7 17 1:59 PM

I doubt this would get off the ground - especially because the demographic is already "full" so to speak - all 4 nations of the UK are already sufficiently represented internationally in many people's views. And not many people would get behind any kind of GB team if they would lose 10-0 to Gateshead. Also, Sápmi is clearly different in that it covers only the very northern parts of some countries. An equivalent would be some kind of West Coast of GB team encompassing the English, Welsh and Scottish west coasts. I'm not sure, but I get the impression that people within the UK are more than happy to support their own part of the UK internationally, and whether the intention was to compete or not, they might see the "supp GB" team as a competitor. I don't think there is any appetite for it - the appetite shown in the run up to the London Olympics was simply a selfish desire to see British players playing at the Olympics so there'd be someone to cheer for.


Personally, I'd be against it, because I'd view it as a "geographical team" (like Scandinavia), as I don't believe in the UK as a single country.  The sense of unification that many people feel now has been conditioned over several years of homogenisation.

Within the UK, there's probably "some scope" to form some kind of island or regional team to compete "internationally", but most counties already have their own FA and there would be competing interests. For islands, you'd have to look at places below the IGA level, like Sheppey or Arran. Not sure of what the appetite would be here - both places already have some kind of amateur league from which players could be selected.

Last Edited By: TheRoonBa Feb 7 17 2:02 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#3 [url]

Feb 7 17 2:45 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
all 4 nations of the UK are already sufficiently represented internationally
Exactly, but the concept of the UK (as a whole) is not represented internationally in football.  This forces anybody without a natural tie to a particular home nation to choose one artificially, and it forces those with links to more than one home nation to choose just one  [similar to dual citizens having to pick a single national team, discussed elsewhere].

One could certainly argue that therefore the British population is not represented in international football.  Having 4 subsets isn't quite the same thing.

There have been some elite level players under this category even in recent years, e.g. Owen Hargreaves, Matt Le Tissier etc.  Someone with more arsedness could put together an extensive list.

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#4 [url]

Feb 7 17 9:10 PM

I agree to a point that the 'demographic' is already fully represented, and of course it would have to be stressed regularly that it is not trying to be a competitor to the Home Nations, although given the way certain things went in 2016 maybe I'm overestimating the general public's ability to understand the word 'supplementary' smiley: eyes. It is of course a unique situation as well, typically the 'secondary' representative teams cover a smaller landmass than the countries it is located in, but it is still a thing that the overlaps occur.

But I do see the potential in carving a niche or few, obviously it's not the primary goal but I'd imagine if you put a good-looking and 'official' Great Britain football shirt in the shops it would sell quite well, not as much as ['proper' national team of where the shop is], but a decent casual option, or at least one for the hipsters.

Being English/Welsh is definitely a reason for how I arrived at this line of thinking, but while 'dual eligibility only' is a good angle to take, I'd prefer it to be as open-ended as possible provided the person has the right (soon to be blue) passport. Better to start at the widest definition and have sub-teams (like "South Atlantic" or "Bermudans in Scotland") as a potential future add-on. The refugees thing falls into that category but you'd just have to be careful on the definition to avoid falling into the 'too political' category, to rephrase an American sports saying, "Brexit voters are football fans too."

On players, I don't really know how it would play out beyond 'flexible', I'd imagine through natural progression you'd be able to get a basic core of players, then backed up by those on one-off call-ups. I agree with having to look for support from clubs, a regrettable situation (paying clubs off in insurance or whatever would be off the table) but with some creativity can spin it into something positive, like getting into an agreement with a club that allows use of stadium and their player pool if needed. Bonus points if the club has some kind of symbolic significance like Sheffield FC.

And you might have guessed this already but I have a loose definition of 'best available' for players. Realistically a Supp GB team wouldn't be fielding the likes of Bale/Lallana/Grigg/Anya/potato every match (if at all), so the team is already limited in terms of who is 'available', as is the case for many non-FIFA teams. If I spent an afternoon on the local high street recruiting random people for a match the next day, it would be a terrible method, but by definition the players on the pitch the next day would be the 'best available' in those (self-imposed) circumstances.

The words I used were "a Great Britain team", the natural situation in non-FIFA means that it almost certainly won't be 'best of the best', and not that you shouldn't have that as the target, but the presence itself is the most important step IMO. Having an active Tokelau national team, even if it's just a group of mates in New Zealand with heritage, is surely better than having no active Tokelau team, and in the unlikely event someone else had the same idea and ran a separate one, someone would just have to Ellan Vannin theirs under a slightly tweaked angle, plenty of them to choose from.

Of course a GB situation is different, but it's still an entity that's doesn't have a team right now, which was the main purpose of bringing this up. If Scandinavia or Union State were to set up a team in a similar way to my GB example, as long as they kept their 'supplementary' nature clear I don't see a problem with it, FIFA is the 'official' place of international football where member rules are tightest, anything outside that is a case of more the merrier, public reaction generally decides the 'legitimacy' of a team and their opponents but I'm sure the other teams appreciate when there's another fresh face that could be a potential opponent.

On that note, if Union State included any of ConIFA's members from the region one day, a Union State team would IMO need to become supplementary to the likes of Abkhazia, although like I said the 'market' would surely take care of that anyway. No-one is stopping any of these teams from playing, but they'll have a hard time gettting many opponents from outside that circle (I did say I'd be open to a hypothetical 'Supp GB' playing any representitive team, but I also realise it would be more on the gimmicky/proving limits side of things and definitely interpreted that way by onlookers).

As for 'founding an FA', I was thinking more along the lines of how others do it, are they generally limited companies, charities, or what? If history is any kind of guide then I need to head to a pub, seems to have been the starting place for a lot of them.

Also, Maik Taylor is a decent example of a 'British' anomaly, and it may have backfired but the global capital of loopholes gave it a go around the same time.

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TheRoonBa

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#5 [url]

Feb 7 17 10:13 PM

I prefer the fact that people have to choose 1 association and stick to it. I think in cases like this it is helpful not to consider the UK a nation (as it is not considered so for the purposes of football). For most people born in the UK, they will have 2 options for nationality - one of the 4 UK nations + British. Whichever of the 4 nations they are born in, or wherever their parents were born. They already have enough choice without adding another (British).

For Le Tisser and Hargreaves - Le Tissier was either Guernsey or England (through residency), Hargreaves was either Canada, Wales or England. So, they picked nations that were linked to them. I know they could have picked any British nation, but I don't think that should have been allowed. For most Guernsey or Jersey players who are good enough, they would probably play their club football in England, and thus qualify through residency. Likewise for Manx players.

For people who are half-English/half-Scottish, etc., they should just have to pick one like everyone else has to do. For example, a Finnish/Swedish player has to pick one or the other, despite possibly having a shared sense of loyalty. There is no Finno-Swedish or Scandinavian team, and nor do I think there should be - at least if there is, it should compete with other similar cross-border teams and not national teams/pseudo-national teams. Similarly, I don't think a "UK national team" should be trying to compete with "ordinary" national teams or pseudo-national teams unless the 4 home nations are abolished.

I don't think any supplementary teams are necessary. If they are created, they should play among each other (UK, Scandinavia, Union State could all play among each other).

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#6 [url]

Feb 7 17 10:54 PM

> Having an active Tokelau national team, even if it's just a group of mates in New Zealand with heritage, is surely better than having no active Tokelau team

I don't think it is better. Such a team isn't a national team, and cannot rightfully declare itself to be one without some justification that it actually represents the whole place. If they first set up some sort of association with links back to the motherland then they'd possibly have a case. But they can't justify it on the basis of "because we want to". In that case having no team is better because it is accurate.

I don't think it's acceptable to use a "national team" as a *starting point* for football. The evolution should build up to that by first running internal competitions etc. This is another reason for my dislike of some "non-FIFA" teams.

Not sure what the point would be of having a GB team as part of the current "non-FIFA" circle of anomalies, unless it was to make an anti-FIFA protest point. You would be better off making a British Confederation (in lieu of UEFxit) and then selecting a team to play against, say ASEAN All-Stars, or COSAFA XI.

You should find the constitutions of most FAs etc online, but at this stage you are effectively at the Obscure University Society stage. You would still need a treasurer though. Thinking ahead to the executive committee, I suggest Nigel Farage for Honorary President (obv Her Maj as Patron), and Nicola Sturgeon for regional development officer. That should work.

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#7 [url]

Feb 8 17 8:26 PM

nfm24 wrote:
You should find the constitutions of most FAs etc online, but at this stage you are effectively at the Obscure University Society stage. You would still need a treasurer though. Thinking ahead to the executive committee, I suggest Nigel Farage for Honorary President (obv Her Maj as Patron), and Nicola Sturgeon for regional development officer. That should work.
I never went to university, feel like I missed out (apart from the fees part which was my main influence in not going). And I would not want to be anywhere near that room (the potential for crossfire means playing the national anthem would be highly appropriate).

But if there's anything we can learn from Farage, it's that if you can find a sugar daddy that agrees with you then you can make even the craziest ideas happen. Any m/billionaires to recommend that would be interested in funding increasingly obscure representative football projects for the fun of it? Closest I can think of is Abramovich's rumoured involvement on Saint Barthelemy when ConIFA were getting started.

nfm24 wrote:
I don't think it's acceptable to use a "national team" as a *starting point* for football. The evolution should build up to that by first running internal competitions etc. This is another reason for my dislike of some "non-FIFA" teams.

Not sure what the point would be of having a GB team as part of the current "non-FIFA" circle of anomalies, unless it was to make an anti-FIFA protest point.
I don't think there are many that would go through that path unless they're completely out of the FIFA loop (Monaco, Northern Cyprus, Greenland, etc.). If we take Ellan Vannin as an example (but could also apply to Sapmi, Occitania, Western Armenia, etc.), setting up a league at the start of MIFA's existence would have required either poaching clubs from the Isle of Man system (which would have only heightened the tension between the two FA's), or creating a bunch of new clubs (lacks history/credibility, costly to operate, and still a needlessly antagonising move to the IOMFA over something that wasn't MIFA's reason for forming).

I agree that those FA's should have at least a club cup (inviting existing clubs to add a few games to their schedule for a new trophy isn't going to cause much friction in the 'main' FA of a territory) just so they can have point to having some sort of domestic scene (and a way to open the door for ConIFA club competitions and the like), but when any clubs they might be able to recruit are already in a structure that gives them more opportunity, it's not quite as nessecary to have a 'domestic trophy'. It's a tricky one, and idealistically I agree with you that "club is the bread and butter, internationals are [the filling]", but realistically the national team is probably needed first as the 'proof of concept' before expanding into other projects.

At FIFA-levels the clubs generally have nowhere else to go but their own country unless they take the Swansea City route, so the FA can evolve organically that way, but in non-FIFA, having a representative team is usually the clear aim over having a fully-operating FA. The Chagos FA aren't going to attract much attention to their cause with a 'Chagossian Cup' (which might get the odd human interest story in Crawley's newspapers), but competing in internationals gives them a much bigger voice, so I can see why they take the shortcut, if they are interested and able to form a small club structure after that, then it has more of a starting identity to work with, more casuals would realise it's part of the Chagos FA and what they stand for rather than dismiss it as some small "ethnic thing".

And for the 'anti-FIFA' protest movement, that would give the wrong impression of what the Supp GB idea is about, the only plausible 'official protesting' at FIFA from that angle would be the 'no Olympic teams' situation. Besides, I'd be too much of an 'apologist' to be a FIFA outrage spokesman myself, if something's not right I say so, but I prefer a rational/pragmatic look at the situation rather than a kneejerk quote to earn a few popular brownie points, and that of course is an unnacceptable stance until the enlightenment comes around.

nfm24 wrote:
> Having an active Tokelau national team, even if it's just a group of mates in New Zealand with heritage, is surely better than having no active Tokelau team

I don't think it is better. Such a team isn't a national team, and cannot rightfully declare itself to be one without some justification that it actually represents the whole place. If they first set up some sort of association with links back to the motherland then they'd possibly have a case. But they can't justify it on the basis of "because we want to". In that case having no team is better because it is accurate.
I'd say that the justification is that no-one else is doing it, going back to my high street example it's not the best way of forming a national team but if it's the only way used one then those players are the best available in that situation. You'd imagine that if results are sufficiently poor then someone on the outside of the FA would hear about it and want to do something quickly, whether that's by suggesting improvements to the current structure or by forming a rival operation, but none of that happens without someone taking the first step. Also, I was working on the assumption that if those mates were passionate enough about their Tokelauan heritage to form a national team, they'd be doing so with some sort of contact with the motherland.

In the bigger picture, I definitely think 'the more the merrier' when it comes to outside of FIFA, I myself once made a list regarding who should be defined as a 'full national team' and Great Britain wasn't on it. The list was more on possible FIFA members, but I believed then same as now that the Home Nations' status shouldn't be attacked, just that there is the potential for something in addition to that, same goes for alternative representative football as a whole, they're always representing an entity or identity of sorts, the world generally decides whether it should have the higher seals of approval.

TheRoonBa wrote:
I don't think any supplementary teams are necessary. If they are created, they should play among each other (UK, Scandinavia, Union State could all play among each other).
Not nessecarily nessecary, but just an additional alternative. Supplementary teams playing eachother is the most natural fit but I don't see why there can't be branching beyond that as an option for other teams as well. If a team that qualifies for the World Cup next summer wants to play a warm-up friendly in Russia, would I rather they play FC Baltika Kaliningrad, or a Kaliningrad Oblast regional selection (or even a Union State selection)? None of them may be 'full' international matches (which are obviously the best option if available), but the latter two are more on the 'representative' side than the former, so I'd pick one of them as the opponents every single time.

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#8 [url]

Feb 8 17 10:01 PM

> setting up a league at the start of MIFA's existence

Obviously in the case of a piggy-back FA (such as MIFA) it exists solely to add on one extra facet to an already thriving football community.  But you/we were talking about Tokelau where it is pretty much starting from scratch (you've since mentioned Chagos in which case the population live in another country so naturally they use their clubs).  In your case, you could do either, i.e. (a) try to run GBFA as a piggy-back to the pro game, or (b) build up the transnational movement in football.

Anyway I'm still not sure what the actual proposal is.  Do you just want a GB team to exist in *some form* (any form)?  And what is your role in making it all happen?

Within the professional game, I think the closest thing that you could realistically attempt would be to set up a British Club Championship, probably played as a series of pre-season friendlies.  This could happen with relatively few adjustments to the existing setup.  If you are jumping straight to GB national team, then why not go for retired players - they obviously won't be subject to any sanctions or club release issues.  This is the trick that South Africa used to get big name players to make sanction-flouting visits during its apartheid FIFA exile.  You might be surprised at some of the names that were involved with those.

You could also think about other sports where home nations compete separately - is there any GB action within those (tip: ask Mark to save yourself a lot of googling).

The other thing you could do is take advantage of the weaknesses or blind spots in the current British football environment.  For example, we are pish at futsal and beach soccer, so having GB teams in those might make more sense.  Similarly, Universiade, CISM, and other governing bodies which run tournaments for football but which FIFA considers as psuedo-separate.


> going back to my high street example it's not the best way of forming a national team but if it's the only way used one then those players are the best available in that situation.

My point is that such a team is not a national team at all, it's just some guys you picked up on the street.  It is dishonest.  Otherwise you could declare yourself world scrabble champion because you beat a couple of people you met on the bus.


> I'd say that the justification is that no-one else is doing it

That might be a justification for doing *something*, but it is not an excuse for doing it badly.


> I myself once made a list regarding who should be defined as a 'full national team' and Great Britain wasn't on it

Hmm, I think your first job as GBFA Prime Minister will be to sack yourself for insubordination :-)


BTW, above you touted Wee Gordon as a potential manager.  May I instead suggest Walter Smith, whose dour world-weary disdain for interviewers might help fend off criticism of your project in its infancy:



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TheRoonBa

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#9 [url]

Feb 9 17 1:50 PM

Boo. Down with this sort of thing.

I don't think an "additional alternative" is necessary either. Just like I don't think they should have alternative custard creams, with cinnamon icing. That would just be overkill.

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#10 [url]

Feb 9 17 7:33 PM

nfm24 wrote:
Obviously in the case of a piggy-back FA (such as MIFA) it exists solely to add on one extra facet to an already thriving football community.  But you/we were talking about Tokelau where it is pretty much starting from scratch (you've since mentioned Chagos in which case the population live in another country so naturally they use their clubs).  In your case, you could do either, i.e. (a) try to run GBFA as a piggy-back to the pro game, or (b) build up the transnational movement in football.

Anyway I'm still not sure what the actual proposal is.  Do you just want a GB team to exist in *some form* (any form)?  And what is your role in making it all happen?
(a) would be the answer, something like (b) would only come as a side effect if for example someone from Sweden or Senegal notice "Supp GB" and like the idea enough to make a Scandinavia or Senegambia team. Would be nice to see more entities of course but it wouldn't be as part of any grand 'movement'.

But yes, piggybacking would be accurate for want of a better term, the main goal would be to field a team (making use mainly of existing 'resources' (such as players)) essentially to prove one can simultaneously exist with the Home Nations, therefore promoting the case for GB Olympic teams. While of course aiming to win any tournaments entered.

nfm24 wrote:
Within the professional game, I think the closest thing that you could realistically attempt would be to set up a British Club Championship, probably played as a series of pre-season friendlies.  This could happen with relatively few adjustments to the existing setup.  If you are jumping straight to GB national team, then why not go for retired players - they obviously won't be subject to any sanctions or club release issues.  This is the trick that South Africa used to get big name players to make sanction-flouting visits during its apartheid FIFA exile.  You might be surprised at some of the names that were involved with those.
That's what I was saying before, the only kind of club competition that would be realistic is a 'GB Open Cup', open invitation to all clubs to register, then play out some format on Hackney Marshes or another city's equivalent somewhere to get it done in one weekend each season.

Also, the 'retired players' angle would be one to use (especially try and target the ones that ended their international career on a bad note), but wouldn't want to rely too heavily on it to avoid getting pigeonholed, I'd see a Supp GB team as being more of a mixed bag (core players, retired guests, invited players, etc.), which brings me back to one of my original questions of what level of player you think such a team would generally be able to attract on its own merit (they have a smaller pool but at their peak Panjab have called up English 5th/6th-tier players, for example). Would Premier League academy teams be feasible, for example?

And I am interested in hearing some of those names in South Africa, I know that Roy Hodgson played in one of the apartheid-era leagues once but stressed that he and a lot of team-mates were just in it for a summer paycheck...

nfm24 wrote:
You could also think about other sports where home nations compete separately - is there any GB action within those (tip: ask Mark to save yourself a lot of googling).

The other thing you could do is take advantage of the weaknesses or blind spots in the current British football environment.  For example, we are pish at futsal and beach soccer, so having GB teams in those might make more sense.  Similarly, Universiade, CISM, and other governing bodies which run tournaments for football but which FIFA considers as psuedo-separate.
There are of course situations like the Lions and Great Britain's rugby league team, or more unusually a GB basketball team, it was an Olympics-motivated move but until last year Great Britain, England, and Scotland all ran FIBA teams (Wales, strangely, broke up from the union and field their own side), now it seems as though English and Scottish basketball still operate separately as federations at junior team level but also together under the GB banner for leagues and the national team. Similar to the pyramid set-ups that exist in handball and ice hockey, while field hockey is more of an 'Olympics only' setup, the rest of the time they run individually.

For blind spots, that would absolutely be an intention, especially on the variants that aren't FIFA covered or don't have Home Nation representation, like if there's a national team tournament for swamp soccer or something. I'd say that for futsal/beach soccer it's similar to football - have a supplementary team but understand the Home Nations (for the most part) already have theirs and not to act as some kind of usurper. If the Supp GB team started outperforming any of the FIFA members then great and on the pitch/court/sandpit that would be something to aim for (even if unrealistic), but that scenario should be more an incentive for the FIFA members to up their game.

nfm24 wrote:
> I'd say that the justification is that no-one else is doing it

That might be a justification for doing *something*, but it is not an excuse for doing it badly.
If the something is the only thing then by default it's currently the best thing. Of course it's no excuse for doing it badly, and I was just stressing the most basic-level situation, as like I mentioned before someone with enough interest to set up a national team (especially for a previously untouched place like Tokelau) would surely at least be trying to do it to the best of their abilities.

And on your Walter Smith idea, combined with your suggestion to make an anti-Brexit statement, it reminds me that running a team under the British flag and aiming to change a foreign organisation's policy would probably trigger keen interest for a quick story from "The Sun" and/or "Daily Mail", and I would take great pleasure in turning them down to wait for a more reputable news source (plus with their natural anger, my rejection of them would get publicity anyway). Wouldn't be as blatant about it as fielding a full refugee team, but I would probably write it into the constitution that they are not to be spoken to, if I somehow managed to become a public enemy of theirs it might just be my magnum opus.

TheRoonBa wrote:
I don't think an "additional alternative" is necessary either. Just like I don't think they should have alternative custard creams, with cinnamon icing. That would just be overkill.
They aren't necessary as such, just another option to have. And I was thinking more like mint icing, same basic biscuit structure with a difference to the traditional flavour (which is still undoubtedly king), might be obscure and sound unnatural but it's still going to taste nice to the people into that sort of thing and not outright rejectable to the people who aren't (also, something about vanilla and mint both being plants and that's about as far as I can take the analogy).

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Feb 9 17 8:14 PM. Edited 2 times.

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#11 [url]

Feb 9 17 11:54 PM

> what level of player you think such a team would generally be able to attract on its own merit

The level of player accessible is usually commensurate with the scale/prestige of project. You won't get high level pros turning up to play for a mishmash GB team against typical "non-FIFA" teams, even if they wanted to. But if you can get major sponsors to stage a big match between GB and Europe XI or something like that, for charity say, then it would be different. As the range of the ideas (or dare I say pipe dreams) mentioned so far spans the whole spectrum of possibilities, there isn't a just one unique answer to your question. I don't think you'll be able to sign up any serious players without being able to give them (and their clubs) full details of what is involved, and that is a long way off. At this stage you should be looking to find some interest/support among influential people in the game or media, sponsors etc. It doesn't matter who plays really, you could just do that as 11 winning raffle tickets.


> I am interested in hearing some of those names in South Africa

It would probably be easier to ask the converse, "who didn't go". E.g. 7 of the Sir Pickles XI played in South Africa (including long after the expulsion from FIFA, when it was pretty clear that doing so was more than just getting a dubious paycheck).


>> That might be a justification for doing *something*, but it is not an excuse for doing it badly.
> If the something is the only thing then by default it's currently the best thing


Well, I would say that doing nothing may be better, unless you can do it some level of justice. For GB at least. Or instead, why not start that Tokelau national team you keep mentioning, where your argument applies more directly :-)


> I don't think they should have alternative custard creams, with cinnamon icing

Anything that threatens the essential drabness of life should be resisted.

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#12 [url]

Feb 10 17 6:24 PM

nfm24 wrote:
Well, I would say that doing nothing may be better, unless you can do it some level of justice. For GB at least. Or instead, why not start that Tokelau national team you keep mentioning, where your argument applies more directly.
It depends on what you mean by 'justice', if I were to set something like this up then I (and whoever was working with me) would of course be aiming to do it to the best of our ability, it might not be the best that such a project could achieve (like if it were in the hands of someone more experienced / richer), but at risk of getting into the dreaded 'participation medal' territory an honest effort should be enough 'justice' in this criteria.

And Tokelau was just an example, but now that you mention it, taking elements of that and the 'transnational movement' question from earlier, perhaps an aim of Supp GB could be to encourage the remaining 'proper' countries to make their international debuts by being the opponents for the first match, either by visiting those places for a tour or meeting them at some neutral location. Take the YouTube angle or something and make a documentary out of the last one, if "Next Goal Wins" can make it big then "The Final National Team [working title]" will be a huge draw smiley: glasses...

nfm24 wrote:
The level of player accessible is usually commensurate with the scale/prestige of project. You won't get high level pros turning up to play for a mishmash GB team against typical "non-FIFA" teams, even if they wanted to. But if you can get major sponsors to stage a big match between GB and Europe XI or something like that, for charity say, then it would be different. As the range of the ideas (or dare I say pipe dreams) mentioned so far spans the whole spectrum of possibilities, there isn't a just one unique answer to your question. I don't think you'll be able to sign up any serious players without being able to give them (and their clubs) full details of what is involved, and that is a long way off. At this stage you should be looking to find some interest/support among influential people in the game or media, sponsors etc. It doesn't matter who plays really, you could just do that as 11 winning raffle tickets.
No, you can say pipe dreams, that's all they are at this point, just that there could be some sort of path to it. And the 'generating influential interest' would be something I'm interested in, as mentioned before with targeting YouTubers and the like, it would be more about finding the 'right' people (the ones more likely to give it genuine interest). When starting out it's good just to get a team together, some will stick around as the core and others will either lose interest and/or be replaced. A 'play for your country' raffle is a nice idea but I'd just save that for the odd one-off, doing it for all 11 starters would be like picking blokes off the street smiley: wink.

On the professional players front, I can't speak for someone like Akinfenwa but as a 'big name' coming to the end of his career an international cap might be something that makes his life in football feel complete, it might not be the 'real article' but it would again be better than nothing to at least part-fulfill many players' childhood dream.

For similar players at his level, I can understand not wanting to take the mystery box (there could be a Championship player that says yes and a Conference North player that says no). And bigger players would obviously be more likely to say yes for a summer match than one scheduled mid-season, but even with that 'club-locked' angle you still hear stories of Paul Pogba going down the weekly 5-a-side with his mates, he does this knowing his club will probably be fuming if he got so much as a knock from doing it (they burned through enough money getting him back as it is), but passion will out, or at least that's what I'd be hoping in attracting better-known players.

As for targeting the players to call up, other than the outside-the-box choices like Akinfenwa I'd probably be hopeless at it, an idea in mind would be to make use of the fine database in the Football Manager games, maybe try and use some more experienced players (of the game) or their volunteer scouting network in some capacity for this part. Could even find a coach from that community, how can Wee Gordon compete with someone who's guided Alfreton Town to 7 Champions League titles?

And the South Africa question, of course it's a shameful episode that those players participated, but bear in mind that in those days you had situations like Sir Geoff Hurst being back home mowing his lawn less than 24 hours after a World Cup Final hat-trick, the 'good old days' of players taking the bus to their game amongst the fans. The scenario seems tailor-made that they'd snap someone's arm off if they offered them a bit of extra income for doing what they know best... today's big-name players can afford to make those decisions more on morals than their wallets... you would hope.

And I should reiterate at this point that all this is still just hypothetical, just trying to flesh out the concept into something realistic (might at a later date try to do the same with drunk basketball, bring sportswear and a designated driver smiley: indifferent). All contributors so far are thanked for your input with hypothetical complementary lifetime tickets to Supp GB home matches, partly in the knowledge that hypothetically you don't seem too interested in going smiley: laugh.

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Feb 10 17 6:27 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#13 [url]

Feb 10 17 7:22 PM

> in those days you had situations like Sir Geoff Hurst being back home mowing his lawn

Dunno how that is relevant unless he had a racially segregated gardenSure, players weren't as well paid then - again I don't think that is much of an excuse.   But anyway the only reason I mentioned South Africa is because they needed to use tricks or subterfuge to get round the fact that they had been suspended and later expelled from FIFA.  Some of the same tricks, albeit for more morally sound reasons, could apply to your project.


> complementary lifetime tickets to Supp GB home matches, partly in the knowledge that hypothetically you don't seem too interested in going

Mark and I will be happy to show up in order to boo (or at least, tut disapprovingly).

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#14 [url]

Feb 11 17 11:52 PM

It's not so much of an excuse, but I just brought up the lawn mowing story in the sense that top-level players back then would have had more incentive to cash in where they can (admittedly doesn't hold up much with the players that spend the final years of their career in the Middle East or USA). Combine that with an attitude that was somewhat institutionalised at the time (see: Rous) and as sad as it is the players who went to South Africa might not have known much better. Again no excuse whatsoever (and you'd hope anyone that participated now looks back with regret), especially when the likes of Sir Stanley Matthews had been doing the exact opposite for years, but it definitely would have been seen better at the time than it does in hindsight.

> (or at least, tut disapprovingly)

How very British of you. That's the spirit! smiley: ohwell

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#15 [url]

Feb 13 17 8:37 PM

Sir Stan was a touring professional player - the exotic coaching was mostly after he finally decided he was too old to play, but as a player he picked up lucrative fees for guest appearances in exhibition matches. He wasn't alone in this of course, but in his era he was the biggest attraction "guest star" to get people through the turnstiles, which in those days was the most important source of income in football.

As an example, he went to South Africa in summer 1955 playing show games in various provinces and also in both Rhodesias and L.Marques. In one particular match, he joined Alf Ramsey and Bill Perry as guests in a Southern Rhodesia XI which beat Portuguese East Africa 4-2.

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#16 [url]

Feb 17 17 4:48 PM

Great discussion on here. I would live to give my 2 cents about it:

1. You are by far not the first one with that idea. At least 4 different people or teams approached me over the years with their wish to join CONIFA with a UK or GB team. I also got applications from "Europeans of British Extraction", "German Reich" (incl. Zanzibar, Silesia, Bohemia, etc) and of course Yugoslavia (2 applications here).
So, while the reactions here might indicate that your ideas is totally insane, it is not unique at least.
(for the record: After a friendly "Great, here is our eligibility criteria list, pick one and let me know" mail, none of the above returned).

2. Indeed GB is a bizarre footballing place. Manxies, Channel Islanders and others are not eligible to play for any FIFA member at all, even though media often quotes that wrong. The same is true for GB citizens living abroad in the 4th generation. That said, the UK passport is probably the only one in the world, which is fully recognized and still does not qualify you to represent any nation in international football in all cases. Very odd!
Finally, GB would obviously not qualify for UEFA or FIFA membership today. Even worse, following the current FIFA regulations a whopping 16 FAs would just merge to a single one. Very odd again!

3. While some here do not get tired stressing that "the UK is not one nation" it is in all possible political interpretation. From the perspective of the EU, the UN or any other international or national (non-UK) body GB is just a single country or nation. That said, Wales is not better or worse than Catalonia, Calabria, Slavonia, Karpatallya, Baden-Wurttemberg or Silesia in the global context. Still, all of those "semi-autonomous regions" are treated as full countries in FIFA, while the United States remain united on the pitch. That said, most of you might not feel "British", but rather English, Welsh or Scottish, but still you are as British as I am German and as Welsh/Scottish/English as I am North Rhine Westphalian. Like it or not. If the world would have ever been balanced in any way, especially in football, Wales would today be an amazing non-FIFA team.

Finally, and following all the above, I do not feel that a GB team would fit well into the CONIFA family (or any other non-FIFA community). The simple reason is that the citizens of the GB are extremely overrepresented (with 16 FAs!) and not at all underrepresented in international football. However, if there is a serious mass of people who do identify only and solely with the UK, except for their "home nation"; I would be very happy to learn more about it and would surely consider starting serious talks with such a representative team.

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#17 [url]

Feb 17 17 8:44 PM

I accept that the idea's a bit 'unconventional', but nice to know I'm not the only one who's gone off on that tangent (the 'historical teams' are something that interest me, and "Europeans of British Extraction" is a mess of descriptions that I can't get my head around, what was that supposed to mean exactly?).

Although the British passport is a curious case, players from the Crown Dependencies are allowed to play for one of the Home Nations (used to be that they had free choice, now I think it's limited to just England if they have no other eligibility). Exhibit A: Graeme Le Saux.

I don't think my idea is based so much on a 'British identity' situation, the cause is primarily a sporting one (the Olympic football teams, so I'd just see it as a different (but much lesser) form of under-representation). Although the main occasion in which there is a general atmosphere of 'Britishness' (other than Royal Weddings smiley: wink) usually comes during the Olympics, so based from that link it would be an side-aim to replicate the feeling if only on a smaller scale.

It's more the theory that you can have more than one flag to associate with, so to speak. Being English and Welsh, it probably does make me like a general British flag more than if I was only English or Welsh, but I don't feel less connection to any of the three for associating with the others, in fact I'm probably the one in my family with the most blind optimism for England at international tournaments smiley: frown, even though most of them are fully-English.

As has been discussed here before, most ConIFA members do have at least one other affiliation that is FIFA-recognised (to varying degrees of strength), I'm sure a lot of Occitans will feel French in another situation, or Cascadians feeling American/Canadian. It is a tricky one, as I've always believed international football to be an elite pinnacle of the sport, but at the same time you see 'national teams' like some of the ones in the NF-Board and realise that someone basically just threw a team together, slapped a flag on it and now there's a new representative team, but maybe that person feels genuine pride in being Himalayan or Cilentoni (?) and therefore the team is an important representation for that 'entity'.

For GB it's an awkward but genuine gap (I'm guessing as a UN member that isn't in FIFA it would meet ConIFA criteria), on a practical level it could be a more 'accessible' version of international football, and would surely be able to draw some crowds in the town where a match is played if it's promoted well. As I've said before FIFA is the elite, but once you get below that level it's a bit of a wild west, the appropriate levels of recognition will usually come in it's own right (through ConIFA membership, etc.), so if the Conch Republic want to field a national team then it's no-one else's place to stop them, only to help 'set their level' by accepting/denying memberships and matches.

As for finding people who feel the same way I do about the Team GB football situation, I haven't properly looked yet but I'd imagine there has to be some people out of 65m+ that would be supportive, right now it's more about putting a bit of meat on the bones of this idea.

And just to throw a neighbourly question out there for comparison's sake, what about an All-Ireland team being fielded in non-FIFA as a non-aggressive supplement to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland FIFA teams?

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#18 [url]

Feb 22 17 3:20 AM

> After a friendly "Great, here is our eligibility criteria list, pick one and let me know" mail, none of the above returned

Isn't the eligibility criteria list already on the ConIFA website?


> I do not feel that a GB team would fit well into the CONIFA family. The simple reason is that the citizens of the GB are extremely overrepresented

GB/UK is no more represented by any of its subset FAs than Germany is represented by Niedersachsen, or France by Tahiti.  Indeed British citizens are less represented because they are forced to choose only a sub-region.  They cannot be British in football.  They are sportingly isolated and need to be empowered.  You should welcome them.  Brentrance!


> Manxies, Channel Islanders and others are not eligible to play for any FIFA member at all even though media often quotes that wrong.

Under the current rules, any British citizen born on the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands is eligible to represent England.  They could also be eligible to represent Northern Ireland, Scotland, and/or Wales if any of their parents/grandparents were born there.  


> The same is true for GB citizens living abroad in the 4th generation.
...
> That said, the UK passport is probably the only one in the world, which is fully recognized and still does not qualify you to represent any nation in international football in all cases.

"GB citizens living abroad in the 4th generation" may not be able to represent one of the 4 home nations under the existing rules (although such people would quite likely have dual nationality due to being born overseas and living overseas, and so would in most cases be able to represent another FIFA country in principle unless it was Nauru or something).  

However, the same issue also applies to other countries, e.g. "U.S. citizens living abroad in the 4th generation" would not necessarily be eligible to represent the USA.  It is just a matter of the wording of the FIFA Statutes, not a problem specific to GB.

I'm sure there are paradoxical cases of players (unintentionally) excluded by the wording of the rules, but remember that these rules have continually been tweaked and fudged every few years in a reactionary way, sometimes due to consideration of just one or two players.  Sometimes it is a case of "cross that bridge when we come to it" unfortunately.


> Even worse, following the current FIFA regulations a whopping 16 FAs would just merge to a single one. Very odd again!

So far nobody has proposed merging any existing FAs.  The suggestions above have been about a supplementary team of some kind.  Where does the figure 16 come in?


> still you are as British as I am German and as Welsh/Scottish/English as I am North Rhine Westphalian.

I think it was all just a plan to give you more shirts to collect.

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#19 [url]

Feb 23 17 4:15 PM

I accept that the idea's a bit 'unconventional', but nice to know I'm not the only one who's gone off on that tangent (the 'historical teams' are something that interest me, and "Europeans of British Extraction" is a mess of descriptions that I can't get my head around, what was that supposed to mean exactly?).
Don't ask me! I have no idea what that was supposed to mean. All they wrote me was something like "After the damn Brexit, we now need a team of Europe-friendly Brits as we can no-longer identify with all those backward Brexiteers. 

Re the "Home Nations Agreement" and the Manxies and Channelers and Le Saux and other examples:
That WAS true, but I still do not understand how people come to the conclusion that (let's stick to one of many identical cases) Manxies are eligible to play for ANY of the Home Nations. It is quite clear that they are SOLELY eligible to play for England and no one else due to the current ruling. If his parents and grandparents happened to be born somewhere else (even if on vacation) they would not be eligible to play for England. Much worse, all of the people from Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands, Pitcairn Islands or Ascension do have the same citizenship as Wayne Rooney and Will Grigg, but won't be able to represent anyone.
The FIFA Status 6.1. do not hold for the Home Nations as they agreed on their own Agreement, which was again approved by FIFA. The current version of that reads:
1. A Player who, under the terms of art. 5, is eligible to represent more than one Association on account of his nationality, may play in an international match for one of these Associations only if, in addition to having the relevant nationality, he fulfils at least one of the following conditions:
  • a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
  • b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
  • c) One of his biological grandparents was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
  • d) He has engaged in a minimum of five years education under the age of 18 within the territory of the relevant association.
If assume now for a second that we have young Max, a young Manxie playing like Messi, who was born on the Isle of Man to Manx parents and Manx grandparents and leaves the
IoM towards the Academy of a Scottish Premier club when he is 14, we can simply check all the above criteria:
Following Art. 5 of the FIFA eligibility rules, Max is eligible to represent all (16, see further down) British Associations, as he holds a British passport, which is a permanent nationality not depending on residence in a certain Country. So Max is getting exciting as he can play for one of them and checks the list for the criteria! He, his parents and his grandparents were born on the Isle of Man, which is governed by the English FA football-wise and makes him eligible to represent England. He only moved to Scotland when 14, so the "only" 4 years of education there do not qualify him for playing for the Scots.
That is actually the whole dilemma behind the Manx/Jersey/Guernsey. They might have zero connections to England, but are only eligible to play for them (if for anyone!).
Of course a million of special cases can be made up, where a player is super-English, but not allowed to play for England, ultimately. Just imagine you have Scottish and Northern Irish grandparents. All 4 of them moved to England when they were toddlers, 80 years ago. Both get their kids, your parent, while on a visit to their parents in Scotland/Northern Ireland. Later on, you are educated 4 years in England and the rest in other parts of the UK -> voila! You will never play for England, even if you (mostly) lived there.
Of course such cases are made up and of course FIFA/UEFA/Home Nation FAs will be creative to include a player if they want, like always. Still, the whole ruling and regulations around that is totally ridiculous and I always totally failed to understand why the UK needs 16 (!) teams for one passport. This is nothing else as FIFA-sanctioned non-FIFA football to me, provocatively speaking.

Re the 16 British FIFA members: Sorry! It was 12 ;)
Various of the FIFA members share the same nationality (and all of them agreed on the Art 6.1. of FIFA statutes, except for the Home Nations):
US citizenship: USA, USVI, Guam, Puerto Rico, Am. Samoa (why is it AMERICAN Samoa, btw? Do Brazil and Panama hold shares in it? ;) ) and NMI (regionally)
Chinese citizenship: Hong Kong, Macao, China PR.
Danish citizenship: Denmark, Faroe Islands.
French citizenship: France, Tahiti (French Polynesia) and Reunion (locally)
Dutch citizenship: Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao
NZ citizenship: Cook Islands, NZ
British citizenship: Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands, England, Montserrat, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Turks and Caicos

I really appreciate the plan to give me more shirts to collect. Fair point!
Furthermore, I obviously understand that we are speaking of a supp team, not a merge. That was mainly meant theoretically.

I start to like the idea more and more and obviously you are right, as a full UN member the UK would be eligible to CONIFA. Interesting. I also always loved the idea of an all-Irish team, but do not really see that being eligible, except for a possible "Celtic Irish team" based on the language (which is overly weird as I just found out on a recent trip to Dublin!)

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#20 [url]

Feb 24 17 1:51 AM

> "we now need a team of Europe-friendly Brits "

Have they thought about supporting Gibraltar ?


> I still do not understand how people come to the conclusion that (...) Manxies are eligible to play for ANY of the Home Nations. It is quite clear that they are SOLELY eligible to play for England and no one else due to the current ruling

Yes but the current ruling is different from the previous ruling.  Probably most people are more familiar with the previous ruling, so you hear this quoted more often.  The previous ruling allowed the possibilty of choosing any of the 4 home nations *provided* there was no birth-link to a particular home nation within the last 3 generations.  The latter caveat is the part that was often missed by lazy reporters etc.

A British player could have chosen to play for any of the birth nations of player/parent/grandparent, and if all of these were born somewhere outside of the 4 home nations (e.g. Guernsey, IoM, Falklands, the Moon) then any of the 4 could have been chosen arbitrarily.  

Reporters often said that likes of Matt Le Tissier could have chosen any of the 4 home nations - but this would only have been true if it was checked/proved first that all his parents & grandparents were born in the Channel Islands (or in another country altogether e.g. France).  If even one of them was born in (say) Wales instead, then he would have been able to play for Wales *only*.  

The ruling was later "updated" as part of FIFA's attempt to fully integrate it into their own statutes (and copy it for use in other non-British scenarios).  However, FIFA butchered the wording of the original agreement by replacing "nation of birth" with the term "territory of the FA".  So it's no longer about being born in a geographical country but being born in the "football country".  In most cases they are the same, but there are many exceptions and not limited to the UK. 

With this amendment, Le Tissier would have to play for only England, because Guernsey falls under the English FA so it is "part of England" in FIFA's view.  Now, if one of his parents/grandparents was born in Wales, say, then he would be able to play for England *or* Wales.   Similarly, the Isle of Man is "part of England" for football/FIFA purposes (as in your "Max" example).  Hence, Kieran Tierney (who was born in IoM to Scottish parents) is eligible to represent England or Scotland.  [I don't know about his grandparents, they could add further eligibility].

The integration of the home nations ruling into the FIFA statutes also involved FIFA's residence criterion, which effectively allowed any Brit to play for any British team (including overseas territories) if they lived there for two years - this was open to exploitation and disadvantageous for Scotland/Wales/NI whose best players are generally based in England, so this was waived for home nations.  

Anyway, in all this process, the part in the original agreement about the case when player/parents/grandparents are all born outside the "territory" seems to have been lost or deleted.  So, the current rules mean that there are indeed British citizens who have no eligibility, because for example the Falkland Islands is not affiliated to any home nation FA, so it is not part of any "football country", so someone born there (and parents + grandparents born there) would not qualify for any home nation.

But this is not so much a Home-Nations-anomaly as a FIFA-wording-anomaly (or, if you like, a flaw in the concept of singular nationality).  The same issue could apply to any number of examples worldwide, e.g. a Dutchman born in Curacao, or an Australian born in Papua New Guinea.

I'm sure it was not the intention of FIFA to actively exclude such people, but it is certainly a loophole they seem to have overlooked.  It is the sort of thing which doesn't get addressed until one particular prominent player is affected, and then they fudge the rules again.  Perhaps you should preemptively petition FIFA to fix this.  It would lie within your ConIFA remit of improving chances for sportingly isolated people :-)  


>  I always totally failed to understand why the UK needs 16 (!) teams for one passport. This is nothing else as FIFA-sanctioned non-FIFA football

The UK doesn't have any teams.  Some subsets of it have separate teams.  Eligibility is mostly based on birthplace, so the singular passport is a red herring.  

In general there is often a misguided expectation that there should be some bijective correlation between "independent countries today" and "national teams in [sport]". However the number and identities of FIFA members and national teams do not represent a "live" state of affairs at the current point in time, but instead encapsulate the history of the sport itself in tandem with the political evolution of nationhood during that period.

It is not about UK "needing" N teams.  It is about N-4 small territories having not yet become independent (for whatever reason) and dealing their own passports.  In the past, N was much larger than it is now, around 75 or so.  Now it is about 11.

The reasons are historical.  In the earliest days, new national/territorial FAs affiliated to the (English) FA.  There was a long period of time where the British teams were genuinely outside FIFA, and because at this time there was still an extensive British Empire, for a long time GB had more member FAs and perhaps more players than the FIFA world.

After WW2, GB and FIFA reconciled and the home nations reaffiliated under the condition that all 4 home nations would be entitled to separate FAs and national teams.  Some of the dominions/territories/colonies/protectorates etc of the Empire affiliated directly to FIFA, others did not.  This took place before independence in some cases, in others after.  There was no consistency across the board; each case was addressed on its own merits and only on the instigation of the FA in the relevant colony, occasionally with the "blessing" of the English FA.  So, N was always large from the beginning, but decreased as the colonies became independent.  

Over time this has levelled out of course, and virtually all the former Empire is now both independent and affiliated to FIFA directly. 

We are left with the position today that (a) there is a small remaining British "empire" of overseas territories and crown dependencies, with about half directly in FIFA and half not, and (b) the 4 home nations have always had separate FAs (because there was nobody else to play against at first).  

This may seem peculiarly British, but case (a) applies to e.g. France and USA also, and something similar to case (b) arguably applies to China and the Netherlands also.  It is just a reflection of world history more generally.  

Then again, N did increase by one last year.  Gibraltar was admitted to FIFA with an overwhelming majority of votes.  Clearly the football world has not yet had enough Britishness and wants as much as it can get :-)


> I also always loved the idea of an all-Irish team, but do not really see that being eligible [for ConIFA]

As I don't see the eligibility criteria on the ConIFA website, I can't say for sure, but if I remember rightly there was a criterion about being a member of an Olympic sports body.  Since there is an All-Ireland rugby union team, and rugby union is now an Olympic sport, that would probably be enough for eligibility for ConIFA?  

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