Brown fearful over FIFA pledge

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Former Scotland manager Craig Brown fears FIFA would use a unified British Olympic team as a precedent to streamline world football by combining the home nations.

Brown has helped launch a petition opposing the formation of a Team GB for the 2012 Olympics in London. The Scottish Football Association, along with their Welsh and Irish counterparts, have refused to co-operate with the plan, but the FA have vowed to take part.

The UK Government has won assurances from FIFA that an Olympic team would not threaten the independence of Scotland in the football world but Brown is unconvinced and said: "I'm opposed to it because, first of all, I'm a very patriotic Scot and I want to retain the autonomy of the Scottish national team."

He added: "I don't want it to be diluted in any way through a combination of other countries.

"The second reason is that I feel there is the danger in the future.

"Although we've got assurances now from FIFA that they won't combine them permanently, in the future that decision of the present FIFA board won't not be binding.

"The Scottish national team could disappear altogether and that is horrendous."

Like his former employers at the SFA, Brown does not feel FIFA can promise with any certainty that Scotland's separate identity can be protected.

He believes there is a desire within the corridors of power in world football to take away the privileges and form a British team.

"For a start, that's only one vote, at the moment we have a vote each," Brown said. "Also, there are 208 countries in FIFA, it would streamline their operation a wee bit. I strongly suspect that FIFA would like to streamline their operation a bit more, reduce the number and one way of doing it would be to get rid of four and make it one with GB. We don't want that."

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