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The debate around national teams is set to return


The eleventh point during agreement between PSOE and PNV (The Basque Nationalist Party) said that the government is committed to: "Opening channels to promote international representation of the Basque country in sporting and cultural areas." I expect another round of discussions about the national teams that excite all and sundry for their symoblic value. It seemed that disccusions on the topic had moved to different areas but they are resurging again. In agreements with ERC (Republic Left of Catalonia) there was no such talk but I suppose they will reappear too.

For me the debate was always something forced. Neither the Olympic Committee or FIFA would allow it. Both of these organisations consider them regional sides for the recognised country within the UN. They spoke frequently about the exception within football, which recognises four British sides, but with those, four different federations exist and they played before FIFA was created. They respected it because there was no other way. The same thing happened in rugby. On the flipside of that, at the Olympics, the United Kingdom takes part. The Olympic movement was born in France at one time for everyone, it does not consider any exceptions and it doesn't have to.

One can talk about the Faroe Islands and its relation to Denmark and how they allowed their national team entry in 1989 but the same Faroe Islands had their own football league since 1942. The Basque Country and Catalonia don't, but the debate which stirred us up quite a bit in the past, seems to have returned. If it wasn't back, the PNV would not have inserted it into their agreement. On the other hand, there are regions where some sports are stronger than others (rowing, roller hockey...) and new sports that the federations will want to have more links with. There are long and weighty discussions coming down the line about this.