The end of Team GB football?
Posted: Tue, 14 Aug 2012 16:54
The FA will not back a GB men's football team in Rio and says it is unlikely there will be a women's side competing either.
Alex Horne, the general secretary of the Football Association has ruled out the possibility of the Team GB men's team playing again. He also said that it is "unlikely" that a women's team will represent Great Britain in Rio in four years' time.
This has come as a blow to women's head coach Powell who expressed hope that the women's game could use Olympic success, peaking with strong 70,000 crowd present for the 1-0 victory over Brazil which secured passage to the quarter finals, as a springboard to further the women's game. The disappointment was built upon by Kelly Smith, Arsenal striker and England's record goalscorer, who told the BBC "that's a shame [that there may not be a women's team in Rio] because you see the exposure we got at these Olympics."
The reason given for this decision by the FA is that there are concerns that a continued unifying of the nations could harm the footballing sovereignty of each of the home nations. A further issue is that of qualification which would have to be done via the European Under-21 Championship. For women, Europe's top three nations at the Women's World Cup in 2015 will qualify for Rio. In 2007 England were ranked third but their Beijing Olympics place was given to Sweden. Both the men's and women's teams qualified for London 2012 because they were part of the host nation.
Rows blew up around selection for the Team Gb squad with the Welsh Football Association along with their Northern Irish and Scottish counterparts expressed views that they did not want their players to take part. However they had no power to stop players joining the squad when selected.