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Problems With Successor National Teams

Discussing the issues that come with successor national teams.

By on Oct 12, 2019   2830 views   4 comments
Football Views - Problems With Successor National Teams
The Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia - three countries that no longer exist. As a result, neither does their national football teams. They have deteriorated into 23 independent states. But if these nations no longer exist, does that mean their accolades vanish? The Soviet Union’s 1960 UEFA European Championship title, Czechoslovakia’s two FIFA World Cup final appearances and Yugoslavia’s two UEFA European Championship final appearances - are these achievements gone from the history of football?

No. Rather, these achievements have been inherited by successor national teams of these former nations. Russia inherited the achievements of the Soviet Union. The Czech Republic inherited the achievements of Czechoslovakia and Serbia inherited the achievements of Yugoslavia. FIFA have decided this. In my opinion, this is highly problematic. Why? Because it discredits players whose nationality is not that of the successor team.

At the 1986 FIFA World Cup where the Soviet Union reached the round of 16, 14 out of 22 Soviet players were from Ukraine. Yet Russia - as the official successor team of the Soviet Union - is entirely credited with that performance. At the 1968 European Championship where Yugoslavia reached the final, only eight players were Serbian. They would’ve never made it to the final without the Croatians, Bosnians and Slovenes on the team. However, since Serbia is the official successor team of Yugoslavia, they alone are credited with reaching that final.

This is likely a non-issue to most people. But I still think it’s worth pointing out, considering how important international football can be and how seemingly easy the issue can be fixed. FIFA could simply take into consideration the respective nationalities on each national team and award accolades based on that. I don’t mean one Georgian player who played for the Soviet Union in 1986 would give Georgia’s national team the equivalent of that performance. But rather if nationalities are somewhat evenly split. As an example, Yugoslavia’s squad of the 1968 EUROS was relatively evenly split between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians. So I think it would be fair to attribute that second-place finish to all three nations - Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Before you dismiss this as a trifle I want you to imagine how you would feel if your national team had their accolades discredited. Let’s say you are from Bavaria and Bavaria gain independence from Germany. Germany would be exclusively credited with their mesmerising records at international tournaments. Their World Cup titles. Their EURO titles. Everything. Though it all likely would’ve been impossible without players from Bavaria.

There are certainly greater issues surrounding the beautiful game, but that doesn’t mean the more minor ones should be ignored. Football matters to people. Many people who don’t normally care about football still watch the World Cup every fourth year. And the achievements of their fellow countrymen should not be discredited.

Originally written by National Team Football - please take the time to check out my YouTube for similar content.

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