Great British football team to be allowed at Olympics

AFP, Tuesday 21 Jun 2011

Agreement has been reached to field a Great Britain football team at the 2012 London Olympics with players from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, the British Olympic Association (BOA) said on Tuesday.

Despite opposition to all-British teams taking part in the Olympic Games from all the home nations apart from England, the BOA confirmed that an agreement has been reached.

A BOA statement said: "Consistent with requirements set out in the Olympic Charter, the selection criteria will be entirely non-discriminatory, as players from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other territories which fall under the BOA's remit, who meet the approved competitive standard will be eligible for consideration and selection.

"The FA has consulted with its partner associations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in developing the player-selection criteria and timeline."

A list of players will be drawn up by the managers of the men's and women's teams and they will each be asked to confirm their availability. This will then be reduced to a shortlist and an announcement of the two squads will follow in the summer of 2012.

Officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have long been opposed to their players taking part in a British team, fearing it will be the start of a process that ends with them no longer recognised as independent football nations by global governing body FIFA.

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