Campaign for a Scottish Olympic Team

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


In July 2005, London was announced as the successful bidder for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Shortly after, C-ScOT announced that they had 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] Similar levels of support were found by The Sun and the Daily Record tabloid newspapers.[3]

The survey led to questions in the Scottish Parliament.[4] The survey result also led to discussion at Westminster.[5] The discussions around the football in the London 2012 led to further discussion of possibilities by the Scottish National Party's Alex Salmond.[6] After the SNP's victory in the 2007 Scottish parliament elections, Salmond became First Minister and again made comments around the prospect of Scotland competing at the Olympics.[7] The issue surfaced again in 2011.[8]


C-ScOT claimed that a Scottish National Olympic Committee could meet all the criteria set down by the Olympic Charter.[citation needed] 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".[9] 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.[10]

2014 referendum[edit]

Ahead of the 2014 referendum, an expert panel, the Working Group on Scottish Sport chaired by former First Minister Henry McLeish published their report in May.[11] The panel concluded that there was "no obvious or major barrier" to a Scottish team taking part in the 2016 Rio Olympics if the country were to vote for independence.[12] 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 24 March 2016 after a Yes vote.[13]

Ahead of the vote, The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, said that a Scottish team could compete at the Olympics if Scotland voted 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."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allan Hubbard, 'The Campaign for a Scottish Olympic Team', in The Independent (London newspaper), 2 October 2005
  2. ^ "Poll results". Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Higton, Suzi (29 September 2008). "Land of Hope and Glory?". Glasgow University Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Minister torches Olympic team bid". BBC News. 6 October 2005. 
  5. ^ "Commons Select Committees > Scottish Affairs > Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160-179) Ms Julia Bracewell and Mr David Williams". UK Parliament. 22 November 2005. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "SNP repeats Olympic football call". BBC News. 11 November 2005. 
  7. ^ Gillon, Doug; Schofield, Kevin (21 May 2007). "Salmond plan for Scottish Olympic team hits opposition". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  8. ^ Alan Roden, 'SNP's new bid for Scottish Olympic team', in The Daily Mail (London newspaper), 28 March 2011
  9. ^ "Olympic Charter" (PDF). Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Sporting Activities and Governing Bodies Recognised by the Sports Councils" (PDF). Sportscotland. April 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Working Group on Scottish Sport The continuing development of Scottish sport – including the impact of independence" (PDF). Scottish Government. May 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Team Scotland in Rio 'achievabe'". 9 May 2014. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Andrew Osborn (24 November 2013). "Scotland names independence day for first time: March 24, 2016". Retrieved 12 August 2016. >
  14. ^ "IOC will accommodate Scotland team after Yes vote". The Herald. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 

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