Fears of FIFA corruption taints even Olympic ideal

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WHY would events surrounding an old man in Switzerland change the life of a talented young kid from Worksop?

It’s hard to imagine, but once fear of corruption takes hold its contamination spreads everywhere.

Who would have thought that FIFA’s recent row, presidential election farce and alleged bribery issues could possibly change the life of Sheffield Wednesday youngster Liam Palmer? No-one, but they might.

Liam, aged 18, chose to play for Scotland Under -19s and 21s rather than England through his grandmother’s Scottish heritage; that’s his choice.

The youngster could well have chosen England and had he done so might have found himself playing in the Olympic Games football tournament next year.

But not now.

He clearly has the ability but fear of possible future FIFA double dealing means that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales won’t be sending players to be part of the Great Britain team.

Why?

Because those countries’ three associations don’t believe FIFA assurances that each of the four British nations will retain their individual identity if they unite under the Olympic banner as a Great Britain team for the 2012 Games.

They think that at some stage in the future, despite protestations to the contrary, FIFA, will use our islands’ amalgamation to force a rule to make Great Britain the representative team in European and World Cups rather than the individual nations.

Ancient fears about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland coming under the dreaded English banner are raised, hackles rise, walls go up.

So we can’t have a celebration of the abilities of young British talent in a GB team. But we can have mistrust, old wounds re-opened, suspicion, denial and division.

FIFA’S motto ‘For The Good Of The Game’ never sounded more ridiculous.