IOC vice-president believes Scottish athletes are likely to vote ‘no’ to independence, while many questions remain unanswered
Ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum, for which voting takes place tomorrow (Thursday September 18), most elite Scottish athletes will hope the ‘no’ to independence vote prevails so their current funding is not affected and participation in Rio 2016 is not jeopardised.
At least that is the belief of Sir Craig Reedie, the IOC vice-president and president of the World Anti-Doping Association. For when votes have been counted, if the referendum’s outcome – to be announced on Friday – is ‘yes’ then athletes still face a great deal of uncertainty, with a number of questions remaining unanswered.
Reedie, who is Scottish and also Britain’s most senior figure in Olympic sport, explained how a ‘yes’ vote would mean Scotland’s chances of competing in the Rio Olympics as an independent nation would be up in the air.
“There are lots of complicated things to negotiate and I have heard people say it would be done by March 2016 but the timing will be very tight,” he told Press Association Sport.
“The further confusion in these circumstances is that Scottish athletes who have previously represented Great Britain would have the option to represent Team GB or Scotland.”
However, IOC president Thomas Bach has said that Scottish athletes’ interests would be “safeguarded” ahead of the Rio Games should Scotland vote in favour of independence.
As this article was published on Wednesday afternoon (September 17), the latest polls were suggesting that 48% backed independence, while 52% were against it.
Lynsey Sharp (pictured), who has enjoyed a successful summer season having won Commonwealth and European 800m silver medals representing Scotland and Great Britain respectively, has been among those to voice her concerns over funding and also the facilities available in Scotland.
“My particular concerns are whether Scotland as an independent country would have the funds, time and resources to achieve the same sporting success which we’re able to do so at the moment through a British team,” the Loughborough-based athlete told the BBC.
» See the September 18 issue of Athletics Weekly magazine, available digitally from Wednesday September 17 or on newsstands on Thursday, for more on this story