Almanack: Strife in the end zone

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The Independent Online
TROUBLE and strife on the British gridiron scene: the Scots are revolting. To make a very long story short, Glasgow Lions were chucked out of the national league recently for failing to complete their fixtures (they objected to having to travel so far to play the London Olympians). Now Fife 49ers have come over all sympathetic and pulled out of today's play-off match with Lancashire Wolverines.

'We had a team meeting and decided that it was not worth playing in the play-offs,' Fife's Alan Thomson said. 'We're fed up with the attitude of the BAFA (British American Football Association) and it appears they have one rule for the London teams and one rule for the Scots.' Thomson hints at the possibility of a breakaway Scottish league.

What a kerfuffle. Almanack rang David Quincey, the British League Commissioner. What does he make of it all? 'The big problem with Scotland is Alan Thomson,' he said. 'He seems to have some kind of chip on his shoulder - he's got this notion that everything is anti-Scottish.'

But if he does set up some kind of Scottish league, what can BAFA do? They can stop Scottish players from playing for the Great Britain team, for a start, and withhold BAFA referees. Anyway, Commissioner Quincey said, most of the Scottish teams don't want to play in their own league. 'There are teams like Aberdeen, Clydesdale, Strathclyde Sheriffs, these sort of teams don't want to play in a Scottish league. Because if they win their conference they're the best of six or seven teams. If they win our championship, like Clydesdale did two years ago, they prove they are the best of 80 teams.'

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