Elite level athletes and organisations have benefited from unfettered access to Europe; few are fully prepared for the ramifications of whatever happens on 29 March
It was during the death throes of the British empire that the penultimate high commissioner of Aden, Richard Turnbull, forecast: “When it finally sinks beneath the waves of history it will leave behind only two monuments: one is the game of association football, the other the expression ‘fuck off’.” How some Brexiters relish lobbing that expletive at the European Union, despite the pernicious risks to the national game and the rest of British sport.
Privately, some inside the Olympic and Paralympic system fear Brexit will make it harder to attract the best coaching talent. Others also warn that if sterling plummets further it will eat into budgets for training camps and Tokyo 2020 qualifying events. And if the economy tanks and government funding for elite sport gets a buzzcut, do not expect Team GB to finish second in the Olympic Games medal table again.
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