Football or Olympics?

uk sports
Il est généralement admis que les Britanniques sont attachés à leurs traditions. Néanmoins, certaines de ces traditions (qui ne datent que de l’époque victorienne) sont aujourd’hui confrontées à diverses problématiques et deviennent, par là même, matières à controverses et à débats…
Today we’re talking sports on FSTQ, in a rather unusual way though since we’ve decided not to focus on a particular sport event. Why is that you ask? Well, the major thing going on at the moment is cricket and, not that cricket is boring but… you get the picture.
So we’ve decided to discuss sports in general. And when it comes to it, Britain does have a somewhat bizarre system. Since it has organised tournaments since the dawn of modern sports – which we owe them for the most part – and no proper team existed to compete with at an international scale in those days, there was and remains to this day one team per British nation, for a brand total of four. Now, this may seem a side issue. Hell, why should even we care? But one mustn’t forget that a substantial chunk of a country’s international fame is earned by its athletes. And how better to illustrate that than to quote a frustrated MP, tired of seeing his beloved football team lose in major championships? After the 2014 World Cup, Laurence Robertson argued that in order to be more competitive, the English football team should try picking some of the top Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish top players, and hence create a unique and grand UK football team. This intervention from the very top shows how critical the current state of affairs is.
However, this could present them with difficulties as many British people are really proud of their national team. Take the Welsh rugby team for instance, they’re doing quite well on their own, an attempt to swallow that team in a giant merger would frustrate its supporters and thereby create a diplomatic incident. But who knows… that kind of merger could well go on very quietly. Yet, let us not forget that each people is strongly committed to its national team, which is a part of their identity, and that is why they still sing their own anthems – albeit unofficially – at the beginning of each game (here’s the Scottish one in case you’re interested). All that proves a unique UK team is nothing but a mere ideal for the time being.
Yet, Britons do come together to back GB&NI teams in certain events. And when they do, the reward can’t be overstated: more than merely claiming their national unity, they also show the world they’re still a force to be reckoned with, just take a look at the 2012 London Olympics medal table, the results are quite different from football. And whatever some may say about it, sports results still have their importance as far as international influence is concerned, no wonder China and the US are struggling to stay at the very top in sports. Thus, British peoples might really be better off if their teams merged in a unique – and stronger – one. It might also help unite the somewhat disunited Kingdom.
Nicolas HUY & Thibaut VASSEUR

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