Sam Wallace: We should <i>not</i> unite our football teams into just one EU squad

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The Independent Online

There is one key reason why the EUteam will never happen and it is an organisation that is based in Nyon in Switzerland, which runs two of the three most lucrative international football competitions in the world, and it hates interference. The Union of European Football Associations – Uefa – is not going to like this idea.

Uefa is building up to what it hopes will be the glorious finale for its Euro 2008 tournament on Sunday when, once again, Uefa will be at the forefront of world football. It also runs the Champions League, the richest club competition in the world, while the European Championships – the Euros – are second only in revenue to the World Cup, which is run by Fifa. One of the key problems that the Swiss bureaucrats who run Uefa, under their French president, Michel Platini, once an illustrious footballer, will have with the notion of an EU team is that the membership of the two organisations differs radically.

The EU has 27 members. Uefa has 53 including Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and – among other countries that are not geographically even in Europe – Israel. The Israelis are in Uefa because of logistical difficulties of playing games against neighbouring Asian nations. Admitting them to the EU may prove trickier, to say the least.

Uefa is the controlling force for all the national associations, which will be instructed to lobby clubs and governments that this EU team is a non-starter. Besides, who would they play? South American and African footballers already travel too much to fulfil their own international commitments. The fixture calendar is overloaded. And, quite frankly, who cares about an EU team? England's players struggle with the words for "God Save the Queen". Don't bet on them knowing the tune for "Ode to Joy".

I've picked an EU XI, nonetheless. So maybe it is not the best team the EU has at its disposal – the best would be a combination of German and Spanish players – but, hey, it's all about representation, right? In that spirit, I'm going to put Dusan Fitzel in charge of the team. Not heard of him? He is the Czech national in charge of Malta and this is his one and only shot at the big time.

Sam Wallace is football correspondent for The Independent