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Uefa chief warns against GB team

31.08.2008

Uefa general secretary David Taylor says that a British Olympic football side could be fatal for the Scottish national team's continued existence.

Great Britain's Scottish Prime Minister Gordon Brown is among those keen for a united team to compete in 2012.

But Taylor said: "It is the quickest way for Scotland to disappear off the international stage."

The Scottish FA, along with their Northern Irish and Welsh counterparts, have rejected a united team for London.

Britain has not had a united team competing at the Olympics since 1960.

"The official position of Uefa, indeed of Fifa, whose responsibility it is, is that this has to be purely a football matter and nothing to do with world of politics," said Taylor.

"It is about the identity of the countries and it is a matter for the football associations.

"But, when I was in Scotland and chief executive of the Scottish FA, we had a clear and firm position and I understand that is still the position - that Scotland should not take part in an Olympic GB team."

Taylor did not envisage a change of position by any of the three Celtic nations, even though there are other sports where they compete as a GB team at the Olympics and separately in other competitions.

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"When I was there, which was not a long time ago, those other countries had the same sort of feelings as we do," he said while stressing that he was speaking as a Scot rather than Uefa's general secretary.

"We have more than 100 years of history of competing as a separate national in football terms.

"It is not like other sports as Scotland competes as a separate entity in all international football competitions."

Taylor was not swayed by assurances from Fifa that competing at the Olympics would not compromise their position.

"Fifa is comprised of 208 countries and we have had situations in the past when the privileges of the British associations, one of which is to compete separately in international football tournaments, has come under attack.

"What I would say is that we should be very careful about that as it's difficult to see what guarantees can be given."

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