England Dopers: football/FIFA rules question

What are the rules concerning fielding a national team in the World Cup tournament?

For example, say Arsenal are England’s champs in 2005/6.
Can England send Arsenal to represent the country? Is a country required to
field an all-star (drawn from many teams) squad?

Has this ever been tried? It seems like a no-brainer; send your national championship team, a team that knows how to play together and is battle tested.

Well, the first things that come to mind are the facts that Arsenal have many players who are nationals of other nations, so presumably they’re excluded from selection for that reason, and Arsenal wouldn’t ‘represent’ England, would they? They’d be hated by everyone but Arsenal fans.

I think an all-star team has sort of been mentioned before, by Tony Banks I think.
Hell, if it got Roy Keane playing for us, I’d support 'em!
Thierry who?

Good point Andy, I knew there was something obvious that I wasn’t seeing.
And no slight was intended against Manchester United in my post, it was a toss-up
between them and Arsenal as to who I would use in my example.

To clarify Andy’s post, the idea of an “all-star” team to represent Great Britain has been mooted by Tony Banks but was almost universally denounced.

As I understand it the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales, and NI do not complete in the Olympics since in that competition they would need to compete as Great Britain and thus undermine the rationale for having separate teams in other competitions (and greater influence in FIFA).

I think another idea which has been put forward is for there to be a playoff amongst the home nations and the winner would represent GB in the Olympics.

Unfortunately either of these schemes leaves Roy Keane out since he plays for the Republic of Ireland.

Just for some clarity on the “All-Star” thing: I think that Bwana Bob was saying that what you have now is an All Star team (of English only) and does it need to be that or could you just take a solid club that’s played together for years without needing to include Hesky or Owen, for example, from other clubs.

I’m sure that there are some national sides that are more or less the best club team from their country. A good US sports analogy would be taking the Detroit Pistons to compete in the Olympics for Basketball, although naturally you’d have to replace any foreign nationals on the team. Since they’ve spent all year playing together they’d do well within their own system, although you’d be missing a lot of big name players from the team then. Of course you’d also likely leave off some of the clash of egos, so it would probably at least balance out. I don’t think that there is any FIFA rule around how to choose the national sides.

The point that perhaps BwanaBob is actually needing to know is the situation with FIFA and the eligibility of players to play for a national team. It’s a difficult area, sometimes simply the ‘one grandparent’ rule is enough, in other cases naturalisation is an issue, such as here. IIRC, there’s also rules that once you’ve played for one national team, you cannot subsequently play for another - intended to stop people whoring themselves out to any side for which they would be eligible.

Basically, no decent Premiership team has enough English (or even British) players for the OP’s idea to work.

Unless I’ve completely misunderstood what you meant ShibbOleth there are strict rules on who can represent their countries. It’s actually quite complicated.
To give an example, Owen Hargreaves is a current English international, but before he chose to play for England he could have picked Canada (where he was born I believe) Wales (because at least one of his parents was Welsh) and he could have qualified for Germany (through serving a specified period of time playing in Germany)
Most of the players who represent their separate countries (Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and some Scottish too - although they have their own league system) play in the English leagues. These days too there are many other nationalities playing in the English leagues- there is very good money to be earned there. To pick Arsenal to represent England is a bit ironic, normally not more than 2/3 Englishmen usually play in their side on a day to day basis. There are probably more French Internationals playing for Arsenal than English Internationals.
This probably holds true for most teams in the premiership these days. It’s a very cosmopolitan league.

I’m fairly up on this stuff, so yes, you’ve probably completely misunderstood me. My point wasn’t on who can or cannot play for England, just on what the OP meant about an all star team. The current English national side is exactly a side of English national* all-stars and not a club team. Bwana Bob was asking why not a club team (Arsenal, Man U, West Bromwich :slight_smile: ). I was just expressing that, as long as all members met the FIFA eligibility requirements to play for a given country, they could just send a club. Practically impossible (at least in England, perhaps) at this moment, but not expressly forbidden by FIFA. From a standpoint of selection of team members, FIFA don’t care how selection is done, as long as the selected players are in fact eligible.

For countries besides the ones with elite, high-paying leagues, it might even be preferrable to take the top club team, let’s say for example in Burkina Faso. Ouagadougu FC** could represent the country, as long as all members were eligible Burkina Fasans, instead of picking all of the best BF players in the world and exhausting the poor countries resources by calling back some guy playing for left back for Carouge in the Swiss second division. Sure, they’re not probably going to go far, but this could be an acceptable strategy.
*Or those eligible under FIFA rules to represent England via residence, citizenship, lineage, etc.

**I have no idea whether or not a Ouagadougu FC exists.

There have been occasions when national teams were made up almost entirely of players from that country’s best league club of the time. For example, the excellent Soviet team of the '80s (Belanov et al) was basically Dynamo Kiev in different shirts, IIRC.

There is a reason why the UK does not have a GB soccer team, and its all to do with soccer politics, and is the reason that when Tony Banks - the then minister for sport - suggested the idea, he was roundly condemned in an unintentional unification of various British nationalities’ soccer associations.

At present the UK collectively has more votes on UEFA and FIFA bodies because the UK has Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England which each have their own Football Associations and their own football leagues.

Add to this that each Nation has access to a set number of places in the European Competitions, these together ensure that soccer from these islands gets to have more influence collectively and more places in the lucrative Euro competitions and also the World Cup competitions.

UEFA has tried for many years to change this, but since we invented the game and tradition rules to some extent, they cannot enforce a ruling that would result in one UK Football Association.

The reality would be that to have one UK national Football Association, would inevitably mean many regional leagues rather than, say, a national English league - something that fans really do not wish to see and it would be a huge change with all the problems that would bring.

Some other EU nations back us on this, partly because of tradition and sentiments, but also it makes UEFA interferance in their own organistaions less of a liklehood, there are some EU nations that are also entitled to automatic places in the big UEFA competitions that come from tiny national associations and leagues that are only viable because of their almost certain entry to those UEFA competitions, thus those clubs are big trees in tiny forests.

I’ve no doubt that if we had a GB national team we would have had better results in the major international tournaments but all those would be in the past.
The reality is that nowadays, if there were to be a GB team, the vast majority would be English players anyway with one or two notable exceptions - but then, it only takes one or two players to join up all the dots and the whole works so much better.