Scots snub Olympic team

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The Independent Online

The Scottish Football Association's chief executive, David Taylor, said last night that the informal nature of Scotland's status as a separate competing nation is behind his opposition to a British Olympic team.

The Scotland manager, Walter Smith, has reiterated his backing for the formation of a British side for the London Games in 2012.

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has previously said that such a move would not jeopardise the individual World Cup rights of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And the British Olympic Association will continue to push for a team without the support of the Scottish and Welsh football associations.

But Taylor maintains the home nations were only allowed to compete separately with the continued backing of Fifa member nations - an agreement which could be withdrawn at any time. And he does not want to risk the "gentleman's agreement" by testing the waters of international football politics.

Taylor said: "We have to be concerned about the future of our country as a separate team. We cannot take it as a right that will not be challenged. It is only if we are a separate country affiliated to the United Nations that that right is assured." The SFA chief insists that the unique status of the four United Kingdom teams competing separately was the result of "special privileges" which Fifa could not guarantee.

Taylor respects Smith's opinion, but maintains the Scotland manager was thinking of his players, while he was concerned for more fundamental matters.

He said: "He's entitled to his opinion. Walter's doing a great job for Scotland. [But] these matters go far beyond the interests of players. What we must do is ensure the long-term future of the national team and the way football is organised in Scotland."

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