Why is Wales allowed to play in the European Championship?

Wales-Superstar Gareth Bale hätte auch für England spielen können. Seit 2006  steht er für Wales auf dem Platz. Foto: dpa/Alessandra Tarantino

Wales superstar Gareth Bale could play for England. He has been on the pitch for Wales since 2006. Photo: DPA/Alessandra Tarantino


Although Wales is not an independent state, it has its own team in the European Championships. We explain why different rules apply to football-crazy countries.

Stuttgart – Despite a 1-0 loss to Italy on Sunday, Wales qualified for the round of 16 of the 2021 European Championship. It makes the residents of the small but football-crazy country proud. But why is Wales allowed to play with his team in EM? The country is not an independent state, but belongs to the United Kingdom.

Football has a long tradition in Wales

It is related to the history of football, which originated in England. The world’s first football association, the FA Football Association, was founded in 1863. In Scotland, Ireland and Walls also, their own football associations were formed almost ten years later. These associations already existed when FIFA was founded in 1904. Since the football organization did not want to exclude countries, FIFA allowed the United Kingdom to be represented by multiple federations.

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The situation is different in the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee does not recognize the four constituent republics, so there is only one team for the United Kingdom.



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