Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180-199)|
22 NOVEMBER 2005
Q180 Mr Davidson: I very much understand
that point, but the point I am pursuing is slightly different
Ms Bracewell: Should I concentrate
on just doing a Scottish basketball team?
Q181 Mr Davidson: That is right,
and you seem to be saying to me that a Scottish basketball team
would not qualify. What I am interested in is because this issue
has been raised quite seriously with us, about having a separate
Scottish team in everything, I am just trying to establish the
extent to which Scots would then not be represented at all if
the team were separate. Can you give us a list as it were?
Ms Bracewell: I cannot give you
a list off the top of my head but I am sure I could give you a
Q182 Chairman: Can you pass this
information to us after?
Ms Bracewell: Absolutely.
Q183 Mr Walker: How many teams play in
the football tournament? Is it 20? It is through qualification,
is it not?
Ms Bracewell: It is through qualification,
Q184 Mr Walker: I wonder if Scotland
would qualify for the football. Hockeywe always qualify
for the hockey.
Ms Bracewell: British hockey we
Q185 Mr Walker: But I doubt Scotland
on its own would qualify for hockey.
Ms Bracewell: They are now ranked
ninth or eleventh in Europe so, no, they would not qualify through
their own team.
Q186 Mr McGovern: It cannot possibly
be an exact science, there must be a bit of the hypothetical or
Ms Bracewell: Yes.
Q187 Mr Davidson: Because a team
might out-perform during the qualification period so to speak.
Ms Bracewell: Yes. I suppose it
is always open to us, if we want to, to spend huge amounts of
money to try and turn this around, but that is not something that
Scotland could do.
Q188 Mr Walker: So young Scottish
talent could be denied a chance to win an Olympic medal at football
because the SFA is not taking part.
Ms Bracewell: Yes.
Q189 Mr MacDougall: I am going to
make the point that the question is getting a bit beyond that,
but you were talking about what motivates you better is the British
team rather than the Scottish team. You are a former athlete,
you would know this.
Ms Bracewell: Yes.
Q190 Mr MacDougall: What I was going
to say to you was, is it not a question that if you want to pass
the first test to get into the British team you have to be a superior
athlete, and if you think about the fact that if you are competing
in the British team you are competing against far more and many
athletes who are of greater capability, and you have to raise
your standard immediately.
Ms Bracewell: Yes.
Q191 Mr MacDougall: Where as maybe
in the Commonwealth Games you want the same passion to win, butis
that not the case?
Ms Bracewell: Yes, there are some
sports like curling where, if you make the Scottish team, you
are the best in the world, but there are an awful lot of sports
where you make the Scottish team and you are not quite good enough
still for the British team. One of the jobs that we have got is
to raise the Scottish expectations, it is not just enough to wear
a Scottish tracksuit, you want to wear a Scottish tracksuit, be
the best in the world and go onto the Olympics. I think the motivation
for an athlete is that you want to get to the Olympic Games because
it is just the biggest stage and it is just an amazing event.
We all want to get there, we love doing all our Scottish bit for
the Commonwealth and that is a huge goal in itself, but there
is also something very special about going to the Olympic Games.
Q192 Gordon Banks: Just a very quick
point on this issue, would it not be fair to assume that the UK
training, sports managers, sport selling, sport psychology is
bound to be better than anything that any one of the home countries
could offer on its own, so therefore that is to lead to better
performance from the athletes.
Ms Bracewell: This is really interesting
because actually we have got a Scottish Institute of Sport which
is perceived to be much better than what is on offer in England,
and that is where we do our sports science, our sports medicine,
lifestyle for sport and all kinds of other stuff. That gives all
kinds of strength and conditioning and other services to some
of the athletes in the British Olympic squads, so top Scottish
athletes can tap into our institute. I actually think that that
we are pretty good at elite sport, but it is a case of would we
be able to get the numbers of athletes coming through in Scotland
to actually get the teams to then benefit and qualify.
Q193 Gordon Banks: And allow us to
keep that expertise up.
Ms Bracewell: Yes.
Q194 Mr Davidson: Can I ask you whether
or not the same rules apply to the special Olympics in terms of
automatic access and so on, and if we had a separate Scottish
team for the Olympics would that then oblige us to have a separate
Scottish team for the special Olympics, and what would that mean
in terms of automatic access.
Ms Bracewell: The Paralympic Games
are run by the International Paralympic Commission and I honestly
do not know enough about the links between the IPC and the IOC
to know how that would work, but I would imagine that it would
be a very similar issue. Certainly, when it comes to that, from
a British point of view UK Sport funds both the Olympic programme
and the Paralympic programme, and when we send our teams, apart
from the logo changing on the tracksuit everything is the same,
but at an international level I suspect then we would have to
petition the IPC to see if we could go as Scotland and then again
another issue around this is that it is not just the IOC and the
IPC that have to recognise Scotland, it is each of the international
governing bodies of sport who take part in the Games. FIFA already
recognises Scotland, but you would have to go round each of the
sports like swimming, fencing and you would have to get the international
bodies of all of those to recognise the Scottish swimming team,
for example. I imagine that would be the same at the Paralympics.
Q195 Mr Davidson: The other element
of this approach was that it was suggested that if we could not
really go as Scotland we might want to consider going as Europe.
That is not my suggestion, but it was made by somebody who is
not here and I think it is, however, worth clarifying what your
reaction is to the idea that there would not be a British team,
and if we could not get a Scottish team we would participate in
a European team. What is your response to that crackpot idea?
I do not want to put words in your mouth.
Ms Bracewell: I think that would
be the hardest team in the world to qualify for, point one. If
you take the best of Europe, of the top 10 nations in the Olympic
Games five of them are European so you are making life pretty
difficult. I am sure there would be a number of athletes who,
if it was the only way to get to the Olympic Games, would try
to get there, but it is so hard I do think it is a non-starter.
We would all rather walk in there with a British tracksuit rather
than struggle to qualify for a European team.
Q196 Mr McGovern: Is it your understanding
that, just as the legally binding agreement between the IOC, the
BOA and LOCOG means that no more venues could be located in Scotland,
would the same agreement mean that despite media speculation to
the contrary, you would not be allowed to take any events away
from Hampden Park without IOC approval?
Ms Bracewell: If it genuinely
is a legally binding contract then they cannot take it away from
Hampden without IOC approval, and I think it would be very unwise
for LOCOG to do that because it is not just us that would be jumping
up and down. Once you take one event out and there are other parts
of Britain that want to benefit from the Games, how many other
events then come up for grabs? It is either a legally binding
agreement where Hampden is definitely in, or there is a much bigger
problem for LOCOG. Certainly all the noises that I have heard
from LOCOG are that Hampden is in there, we know what the dates
are, we have those opening matches and we have got the quarter-finals
match. We just have to be alive to that one.
Q197 Gordon Banks: Do you think the
SFA's decision not to take part in a GB team will have a spin-off
effect that is detrimental to attracting footballing nations or
Ms Bracewell: I think the question
of a British football team is really a question for the SFA, but
I think that wherever we come out here we have to make sure that
Scotland's independence is absolutely maintained in the World
Cup. If the SFA are not sure of that, you ask the question whether
or not any British team should be entered. What would be a difficult
situation, if history were to judge us later, is if a British
team consisting of players from England and Northern Ireland who
were happy that their independence was not being compromised,
took part in the Olympics and did not lose their independence,
then it would look odd if Scottish players did not participate.
But Scotland and England and each of the home countries have got
to be convinced that they will maintain their independence in
the World Cup. In an ideal world, any Scot would have a chanceas
we said earlierto walk on the track at the Olympic opening
ceremony, whatever their sport, but the SFA has to maintain its
Q198 Gordon Banks: You do not think
that decision is going to be detrimental to the attraction of
Scotland hosting anything, training camps or anything?
Ms Bracewell: Football in the
Olympics is only an under-23 event. It is not the biggest Olympic
event so I do not think it would be a problem from the perception
of the Olympics at all.
Q199 Mr Davidson: Is there any spill
over at all from the SFA's decision to the Commonwealth Games
Ms Bracewell: I would not have
thought so because football is not in the Commonwealth Games and
Hampden, of course, is going to be the athletics venue of the
Commonwealth Games and the SFA is completely behind that, so I
do not see how that would affect that.
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