Don’t Blame it on Rio, Blame it on the Referendum

September 17, 2014 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

With less than twenty four hours until Scotland’s referendum on whether it should break free from the shackles of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and become an independent nation, many of the country’s top athletes are faced with a real dilemma, if they believe this is in fact a good move.

The International Olympic Committee have according to Britain’s Independent newspaper said that it would be “virtually impossible” to endorse Scotland as a separate country in time for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This would mean that defending Olympic tennis gold medallist Andy Murray would be unable to defend his title. Other top Scottish athletes would also miss out on Olympic dreams, that is unless they decided to continue to compete for Team GB. However such a move would deem them ineligible to compete for their newly independent nation in 2020.

Interestingly Andy Murray will not be eligible to vote in tomorrow’s referendum, as he does not reside in Scotland. He has a luxury house in Wimbledon. Murray has always distanced himself from the referendum debate, however at the recent US Open when asked who he would opt to play for if Scotland did take the independent route, he was quoted as saying “I imagine I would be playing for Scotland, but I haven’t thought much about it yet because it is not looking too likely.” That was before the polls narrowed in the past week, and now he may have to think a little more deeply about his predicament.

Another man in a tight spot should the independence vote win through is former Chair of the British Olympic Association, Sir Craig Reedie, who was a key player in the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sir Craig hails from Glasgow and although he has stated that he is opposed to Scotland becoming independent, as an IOC vice president, many believe he will be given the task of trying to speed up Scotland’s endorsement with the IOC so that its athletes can compete in Rio.

Once again sport and its athletes are unfortunately drawn into a political situation; hopefully things will work out positively for all concerned, and whatever the outcome of the referendum, Scottish athletes can compete in Rio in two years time.

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