I don’t think anyone would argue that sport isn’t a factor in modern national identity.
Thats one reason that I don’t support Gordon Brown’s GB Olympic football team in the 2012 London Olympics.
To put at threat four nations football teams in order to promote Gordon Brown’s Britishness agenda is a ridiculuous notion.
“The great national day debate arrives at a consensus – let’s call it off.
“You can pack up the Union Jacks, cancel the street parties and tell the pet shop that you won’t be needing that bulldog after all. The government has quietly dropped plans to have a British Day.
“Gordon Brown had called for a day to celebrate British identity in a speech delivered in 2006, when he was still chancellor.
“Earlier this year an official report by Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney-general, had proposed that the first patriotic bank holiday should be held to coincide with the 2012 Olympics.
“However, Michael Wills, the justice minister (who says he’s responsible for something called “the governance of Britain agenda”), told MPs last week: “There are no plans to introduce a national day at this time.” ”
If anyone doubts the influence of sport in national identity then they should look at today’s historic football match between Palestine and Jordan.
It is the first time the Palestine team will be playing on ‘home soil’. Its in the West Bank in front of a capacity 6500 crowd in the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium in AIRam, north Jersualem.
The Palestine football team was only recognised by FIFA in 1998, after the creation of the Palestinian Authority.
In fact, sport is the only realm where Palestine officially exists, in all other areas the Palestine people are represented by the Palestinian Authority, even at the UN.
So having an actual Palestine football team playing in the West Bank must be incredibly symbolic to Palestinians. It represents another step on the road to a fully independent Palestine.