Let’s talk about football

Opinion Piece By Ian Carse

What does world cup football have to do with the cause for Scottish Independence?

Flag_of_Scotland_with_footballWell for one thing we will all be supporting Scotland’s bid to get to the next World Cup in Russia next year and next week Scotland will play two important games that will decide if we are likely to qualify or not.

These two games will be against Slovakia at Hampden on Thursday 5 October followed by a game against Slovenia in Slovenia on Sunday 8 October.

Given the importance of these games they are likely to sell outs and as a result they are very likely to be televised live in this country.

Nothing remarkable or relevant in that you may say, but consider this:

We are all being told that Scotland is too small to go it alone as an independent country.

Yet in Scotland’s qualifying World Cup group only England is a country with a bigger population than Scotland, and only one of the countries – Slovakia – has a population comparable to that of Scotland

Three countries in the group only recently became independent and these were:

  • Lithuania on 17 September 1991 (formerly part of the USSR)
  • Slovenia on 22 May 1992 (formerly part of Yugoslavia)
  • Slovakia on 19 January 1993 (formerly part of Czechoslovakia)

Even Malta, also in Scotland’s World Qualifying Cup Group, only became independent in 1964 and it is still part of the Commonwealth of countries.

Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Malta all have undisputed rights to a seat at the United Nations and were accepted as members into the European Union yet we are told that Scotland as an independent country would have difficulty getting into either or both.

So when you are watching the games, or you hear people discussing aspects of the upcoming games, I invite you to challenge people’s knowledge and understanding of the above facts by saying something along the lines of:

“Aye, and they have fewer players to choose from than we do” or “Aye, and their stadiums don’t need to be as big as Hampden because they have smaller populations than we do” or any other suitable comment or phrase that you care to choose.

If the discussion gets going on this topic bear in mind that The United Nations member states are the 193 sovereign states that are members of the United Nations (UN) and have equal representation in the UN General Assembly and of these states 90 are either the same size or smaller than Scotland. Many of them have a poorer GDP than Scotland and three of them have populations smaller than Orkney or Shetland.

Palau recorded a population of 17,950 on 1 July 2015, Tuvalu recorded a population of 10,640 on 4 November 2012 and Nauru recorded a population of 10,084 on 30 October 2011


I regularly look at facts about these small countries and would be happy to collaborate with others who are similarly interested in this approach to examining Scotland’s place in the world

The Orkney News welcomes contributions from its readers.

email fiona@theorkneynews.scot or use our contact page 


6 replies »

  1. Essentially, the moment Iceland – population 330,000 – played so splendidly at Euro 2016 and dumped England out – was the moment we ran out of excuses. I have hope, though. I’ve been at the last three home games and we’ve been excellent. Three points on Thursday and the dream stays alive.

    • Your dead right there but how many people do you think make the connection? I find very few and would be interested in trying to find more and build a movement which gest folk to think more laterally
      Like you I hope we make to Russia and will be in full voice this coming week

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