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Brown petition on British football team presented to Scottish Parliament

altMARCH 3 - A PETITION against a united British football team competing in the London 2012 Olympics organised by former Scotland manager Craig Brown was today presented to the Scottish Parliament.


Christine Grahame, a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party, presented the petition at Holyrood on behalf of Brown.


She said: "If we were to have a Team GB at the UK Olympics, you can say goodbye to a Scotland team playing internationally.


"It's opening a can of worms or Pandora's box, that would allow many nations - that wanted to undermine this position for many years - it would give them a golden opportunity to do so."


The petition was signed by 2,381 people.


Labour's Bill Butler said he was also against the creation of a Great Britain team - despite Labour politicians at Westminster backing it.

He said: "I do not see the need for a GB football team."

The Glasgow Anniesland MSP said it would create an "unhappy precedent" which could have unintended consequences, despite any assurances from the world's governing body, FIFA.

He said: "One FIOFA executive, like one Parliament, cannot bind another FIFA executive in the future."


MSPs agreed to write to FIFA and the other football governing bodies involved to clarify their position on the issue, including how binding their current position is on future administrations.

Blatter wants under-21 teams in Olympic football tournament


altFEBRUARY 1 - FIFA PRESIDENT Sepp Blatter (pictured) wants to lower the age limit for the Olympic soccer tournament and ban the addition of three over-23 players, he said today.


In an interview published today by the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Blatter said there is a movement to at least keep under-23 teams in the competition, but that he would rather see only under-21 squads playing.


He told the newspaper: "For me, the logic is to have the best 20-year-olds.


"Those who played in the under-20 World Cup the odd year preceding the Olympic Games."


But his latest plan appears to contradict what he said last year when he claimed he wanted he wanted older players like Steven Gerrard and Kaka to be allowed to take part.


National squads can currently take up to three players over the age of 23 to the Olympics, but clubs can refuse under FIFA rules to let older players take part.


Blatter, in Brazil accompanying FIFA's inspection of the cities bidding to host the 2014 World Cup, said that even if the limit is kept at 23, teams will not be able to use the three overage players anymore.


He said: "The Olympic Games are for the youth.


"We should play them with the younsters.


"Although the limit of 23 years gives us a better quality of football, it is bad to keep adding up to three players above this limit. It's illogical.


"We are going to abolish that."


Blatter said FIFA had planned to ban overage players from the Beijing Games last year, but that it made an exception after a request by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.


Last year's Olympics were beset by controversy after clubs refused to release their players to participate in the tournament, citing a conflict with other competitions.


The situation was resolved just days before the competition.


He said soccer's governing body will discuss the issue in March and could reach a final decision at its annual congress in May.