Northern Ireland SM Claims ‘Team GB’ Name is Discriminatory

March 11, 2011

With a money row between the British Olympic Association (BOA) and London 2012 stealing the headlines, a new issue is threatening to engulf the BOA after complaints from Nelson McCausland, Northern Ireland’s (NI) Sports Minister, that “Team GB” is discriminatory and should be changed to “Team UK”.

The BOA have, in recent Games, established “Team GB” as a powerful marketing brand, even though its official title is “Team GB and Northern Ireland” which McCausland claims is unfair to athletes from NI as their contribution is being overlooked.

McCausland stated: “The current naming and branding of the team has the potential to create the perception that Northern Ireland is not part of the British Olympic team.

“However as we are all aware, Northern Ireland athletes have contributed significantly to the Olympic team’s success, particularly in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and this should be recognised in the name and branding.

“Indeed, a change in branding, such as to ‘Team UK’, would be entirely consistent with the current title for our UK-wide sports body, UK Sport.”

McCausland has has promised that the Government will write to the BOA to ask them to consider changing the name, lobbying Britain’s Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson on the affair.

The topic of Northern Ireland’s role in the Olympic Movement has always been clouded in confusion and controversy since athletes have been able to opt to compete for either Britain or the Republic of Ireland.