Campaign for a Scottish Olympic Team

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Campaign for a Scottish Olympic Team (C-ScOT) is a pressure group in Scotland, established in 2005, which aims to persuade politicians to establish a team to represent Scotland at the Olympic Games.[1]

C-ScOT commissioned a question in the regular omnibus survey by Market Research UK which found that 78% of respondents answered yes to the question "Would you like to see Scotland send its own Olympic Team to London 2012?" Over 1,000 adults, aged 16 or over, were interviewed between 12–18 August 2005.[2]

The proposal has the backing of the ruling political party in the Scottish parliament, the Scottish National Party, and was raised by the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond again in 2011.[3]

C-ScOT claims that a Scottish National Olympic Committee could meet all the criteria set down by the Olympic Charter. A number of non-sovereign nations send teams to the Olympics including Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and Palestine. There is also precedent for this in other international sporting competitions, such as the football World Cup, in which Scotland fields its own teams.

However, the Olympic Charter has significant barriers to such a team. Since 1995 the Olympic Charter has not allowed for the recognition of non-sovereign nations - section 31.1 of the Olympic Charter states that to be considered a country a nation must be "an independent State recognised by the international community".[4] The Olympic Charter also requires there to be at least five national sporting federations, recognised by the international federations of an Olympic sport. This criterion is currently met, with the relevant sports being (possibly among others) badminton, boxing, curling, field hockey, rugby, and soccer.

The status quo could have been subject to significant change. Had Scotland voted Yes to independence in the 2014 referendum, Team Scotland could have competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. According to an expert panel, the Working Group on Scottish Sport chaired by former-First Minister Henry McLeish, there would have been "no obvious or major barrier" to a Scottish team taking part in the 2016 Rio Olympics if the country votes for independence.[5] According to the Scottish Government's timetable as set out in its White Paper on an independent Scotland, the country would have become independent on the 24th of March 2016 after a Yes vote.[6]

The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, has assured Scottish athletes that their interests would be "safeguarded" and their ability to compete in future Olympic Games protected, if Scotland votes for independence. "We respect democratic decisions. We always do. But you can see from previous decisions we have been taking in similar cases that we are always safeguarding the interests of the athletes," Bach told news agency Reuters.[7]

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