Team Scotland?

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Scottish athletes helped Team GB win 13 of the 65 medals (20%) that were claimed  at the London Olympics two years ago. Yet Scotland only made up around 10% of the 542-strong team, which happens to be roughly in line with the split of the British population.

If Scotland votes ‘yes’ to independence, then a new Scottish Olympic and Paralympic Association would be formed. Scottish athletes will be guaranteed the choice to compete for a new Scottish team, or to stick with Team GB, which also throws in the prospect of Scots competing against Scots.

While Sport Scotland has a budget of £74m for 2013/14, £14m of which funds elite athletes, it is difficult to foresee how Scotland would fund and run a far bigger elite sports programme aimed at delivering an Olympic and Paralympic team every two years.

At the moment, Scottish athletes receive around 10% of UK Sport’s World Class Performance Programme, about £125m a year. All GB athletes have access to the best facilities, coaching and medical and scientific support, which is far harder to quantify.

To see Scotland attempt to replicate this by herself  would be an incredible waste of scarce resources and an unnecessary exercise to simply duplicate a system which has already proven it can achieve results for team GB.

2012 may well be the last time athletes from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland march into an Olympic Stadium together as part of the same team.

Scottish Independence and Euro 2020

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With one week to go until the independence vote, it has come to light that Scotland’s bid to host games at Euro 2020 may have to be reassessed if the country becomes independent, according to Uefa’s report into bidding countries.

The 2020 Finals will be held in 13 countries around Europe with official explanations along the lines of ‘to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the tournament.’ Unofficial reasons are more embarrassing for Uefa who only received bids from Turkey and Azerbaijan & Georgia (joint bid) to host the event. Late interest of a joint Scottish, Irish and Welsh bid did little to inspire Uefa to stick with the tried and tested format.

The Scottish FA has submitted a bid for Glasgow’s Hampden Park to host three group games and one match in the knock out rounds of the tournament with Uefa’s executive committee due to vote on the host cities on 19 September, the day after the Scottish referendum, but the situation may have to be reassessed should Scotland become independent of the UK following the referendum.

The evaluation report also criticises the commercial part of the Scotland bid as being “inadequate” and “lacking clarity”, saying: “The commercial sector of the bid is inadequate, as the information provided lacks clarity. The amount of advertising space offered is vague.”

Bids from Cardiff and Wembley were given positive evaluations, with Dublin receiving one of the best evaluation reports among all of the 19 bidders.