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The United Kingdom at the World Cup (UKatWC) project is an alternate history of the United Kingdom in association football, asking what if there had been one united UK football team instead of the separate England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales teams we have today?


The British football teams were invited to take part in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, after 17 years of boycotting FIFA. The British football associations had boycotted FIFA over policy on professional players, the British associations feeling that the game should remain an amateur sport.

Point of Deviation

In alternate history, the point of deviation, sometimes called the POD, is the point at which an alternate history branches off from the original timeline (the real history). In this case the point of deviation begins in the USA, where two rival football leagues exist, the North American Soccer Football League, and the American Soccer League. In this alternate timeline, the North American Soccer Football League lasts slightly longer, and both leagues attempt to enter a USA team to the 1950 World Cup. The two associations refuse to work together, so FIFA orders them to have a playoff, with the select team from the American Soccer League winning 3-1 and gaining entry to the World Cup. At the same time, all four British football associations end their boycott of FIFA, and apply to enter the World Cup. FIFA accepts, but a complaint is lodged by the North American Soccer Football League, who say it is unfair that the United Kingdom can enter four separate teams, whereas they were not allowed to enter two. Added to this both the Irish football association and the football association of Ireland teams call themselves Ireland, and several players play for both teams during qualification. After some negotiations FIFA succeeds in getting the Football Association, Irish Football Association and Football Association of Wales agree to enter a combined UK team, on the agreement they keep their individual places on the International Football Association Board and separate league structures. The Scottish Football Association refuses to participate, and withdraws from negotiations. The remaining football associations, the FA, IFA and FAW create a new body, called the United Kingdom Football Association and drawn up from representatives of the member associations. They vote for the current England boss Walter Winterbottom to be manager, although the team is selected by the committee. The rest, as they say, is alternate history..

About this TL

This TL is not a typical alt history, as it ignores butterflies almost completely. For the purposes of this project all players, teams, and World Cup draws and results will be the same as the OTL, in order to make the TL as realistic as possible and avoid an overly successful outcome. The UK team will be seeded in place of the England squad in the OTL, and the other home nations will be replaced by the next placed nation in qualifying. Wherever possible scorelines from the OTL will be used to make an informed guess at the success of the UK team. So for example an England side being beaten 3-0 in the OTL is unlikely to win 3-0 in the alternate timeline with the addition of a few players, even of the caliber of George Best and Denis Law. However just for fun there will be some butterflies thrown in, a few surprise results for good measure and to make for a more entertaining AltHist.


FIFA World Cup

The World Cup remains fairly similar to OTL, however the United Kingdom takes the place of the England team in qualifying, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be replaced by other European teams, meaning where they qualified in OTL the next in the group will qualify for the tournament, if applicable. Exceptions are where the British Home Championships are the qualifying rounds.

FIFA Confederations Cup

In this TL the Confederations Cup is different from the OTL, it begins earlier and takes a very different format. Instead of pitting the winners of the World Cup, Euros etc against each other, they select a team from each confederation (CAF, CONCACAF etc).

British Home Championship

In this TL the Home Championships finish earlier, around the 1970's, due to the troubles in Northern Ireland and football hooliganism. The England team pull out of the competition, and the remaining teams invite a representative team from the Isle of Man to take part. Jersey and Guernsey then apply, and this evolves into the COUNT Competition.

ICAF World Championship

The ICAF World Championship is an international football competition comprising teams unaffiliated to FIFA or ineligible to enter the FIFA World Cup. ICAFWC began as an expansion of the British Home Championship, which was slowly expanded to include nations unaffiliated to FIFA. The Cup is played every four years alternately with the FIFA World Cup.

Football at the Olympic Games

In 1984 for the first time professional football players were allowed to enter the World Cup, however FIFA did not want the Olympic games to rival the World Cup, so UEFA and CONMEBOL teams were restricted to players who had not played in the World Cup. In 1992 the squad was restricted to players under the age of 23, then in 1996 three players over the age of 23 were allowed per squad. Because of these restrictions the United Kingdom national football team (affiliated to the UKFA, UEFA and FIFA) was administered by different authorities from the United Kingdom Olympic football team (affiliated to the FA, BOA and IOC).

American Soccer League

In this TL the American Soccer League lasts until 1959, when it buys out the North American Soccer Football League and merges the two to become the North American Football League.

North American Soccer Football League

In this TL the NASFL is slightly more successful, and continues until the late 50's, when both US football leagues suffer from low attendances. The NASFL is facing imminent bankruptcy and is bought out by the American Soccer League, to create the North American Football League.

North American Football League

The North American Football League was created in 1960 as a merger of the North American Soccer Football League and the American Soccer League.

The UKFA Cup

The UKFA Cup began in 1991, after the discontinuation of the Scottish League Cup due to low attendance and lack of interest from the Scottish clubs. Initially the SFA had attempted to create a combined Cup competition for teams from Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, the FA and FAW had also shown interest, and eventually the UKFA created the UKFA Cup. The competition replaced the Football League Cup, Scottish League Cup and Welsh Football League Cup, and was open to teams from the Northern Ireland Football League.



The Commonwealth Stadium, Liverpool


Anyone is free to add or edit the pages of this project. Just remember to suffix each new page with UKatWC (UK at the World Cup) to differentiate this TL's pages from other AltHistories. No permission is needed, just dive in and add/edit and create as you wish. All I ask is we don't go overboard and make it unrealistic. The ultimate aim is to get a real sense of how well the UK team might have done historically.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.