Team GB Soccer Team Unlikely to Compete in 2016 Olympic Games, Says FA

After London had won the bid to host the Games, the BOA published an opinion poll that claimed the majority of Scots actually supported the creation of a British team for the Games. Furthermore, politicians such as Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated during the 2008 Olympics that he wanted a British team for the 2012 Games and that he would do whatever it took to make that happen, although he recognized that it could affect the autonomy of the Home Nations.

Despite all the negative discussions about the jeopardy of the Home Nations, FIFA President Sepp Blatter assured each of the British Associations that their international football status would not be affected by fielding a combined team for London 2012. However, the SFA still refused to change its position, argued that the FIFA President’s own opinion would not matter once he had left office, and that they would not take the risk. Controversially, President Blatter changed his mind in March 2008, stating that he believed that Team GB should only consist of English players, as the independent status of the British associations could be harmed if there was a team with combined players.

The prospect of a UK team for the 2012 Olympics was discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee at a conference held in conjunction with the 2008 FIFA World Cup in Japan, where it was stated:

“The executive committee confirmed that the participation in the 2012 London Olympic Games of a single team representing Great Britain would not affect the existing individual status of the four British football associations. For the Olympic Games, they have to play in one entity. The ball is now in their turf.”

In the end, a compromise was reached between the four associations, which concluded that only English players would represent Team GB. However, this agreement was challenged by the BOA, who believed it to be discriminatory to only select English players, and it was then later confirmed that the FA intended to select players from outside England. This caught the attention of non-English players such as Tottenham’s Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, who both expressed their desire to play in the GB squad, by having pictures of themselves published wearing the GB football shirt. Bale was not chosen, however, Ramsey and four other Welsh players such as Craig Bellamy, Neil Taylor, Joe Allen and Ryan Giggs were all chosen for the London 2012 Games.

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2 Comments

  1. CTBlues March 21, 2013
    • Dave June 22, 2013

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