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Don't call it Team GB, says Gregory Campbell

The British Olympic team should be renamed to reflect the contribution of athletes from Northern Ireland, a Stormont minister said today.

The "Team GB" title afforded to the UK's competitors excludes and alienates people from the province, according to Gregory Campbell.

The Democratic Unionist MP suggested to a meeting of the UK Sports Cabinet in London that "Team UK" would be a more appropriate name.

While acknowledging that the current official title was "Team GB and Northern Ireland", he said the shortened version was the form most commonly used.

"This excludes, and indeed alienates, the people of Northern Ireland," he said.

"During discussion, I suggested to members of the Sports Cabinet that 'Team UK' would be a more fitting and indeed accurate title, ensuring that all citizens of the UK could feel part of the success of the national team at the Olympic Games.

"Northern Ireland athletes have made significant contributions to the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic teams over the years.

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"I appreciate that to change the name might not be possible in the short term. However, I would like to see the name change being seriously considered for future Olympics Games beyond 2012."

Mr Campbell also called for the location of major sporting events to be spread evenly throughout the UK.

"It is important to ensure that all regions of the UK benefit from the opportunities to host major sporting events and that any UK strategy complements the excellent work undertaken by all the devolved administrations in attracting sporting events."

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