The British Olympic Association claimed this afternoon an ‘historic agreement’ had been reached for a Team GB side to compete in both the Men’s and Women’s football competitions in the London Olympics 2012. However the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Football Associations hit back at the BOA claiming that they did not agree to anything and that their stance on a Team GB had not changed.
The statement from the BOA and the English FA said:
“History will be made during the London 2012 Olympic Games as Team GB returns to the pitch in men’s Olympic football for the first time since 1971, and competes in the women’s Olympic football tournament for the first time ever.
The landmark announcement was made today by the British Olympic Association (BOA), which has reached an agreement with The Football Association (FA) that will enable Team GB to compete in both men’s and women’s football at home in London 2012.
The FA is the designated National Governing Body for Olympic football within the National Olympic Committee, where it represents the interests of the Football Associations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For the 2012 Olympic football competition, the British sides will be administered by The FA which will have responsibility for nominating the managers, players and support personnel to the BOA for final selection to Team GB. Consistent with requirements set out in the Olympic Charter, the selection criteria will be entirely non-discriminatory, as players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 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. All four Associations have received a written assurance from the Secretary General of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international federation for football, that participation in the 2012 Olympic Football Tournament will in no way compromise their autonomy and independence for other FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, nor will it have any impact on their positions of leadership within the FIFA governance structure.”
BOA Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “Seeing Team GB take to the pitch in 2012 will be one of the defining moments of the London Olympic Games. An entire generation of football fans throughout Great Britain has been denied the opportunity to see Team GB compete for Olympic glory. But with today’s announcement, that wait is over. It would be unthinkable to host the Olympic Games in Great Britain, home of the world’s most knowledgeable and passionate football fans, and not have Team GB represented in both men’s and women’s football.
“We are honoured to be working in close partnership with The FA, on behalf of all four Football Associations, to fulfil this historic opportunity. It has been a long, six-year journey to get to this point, with very real considerations from the Home Nations that first had to be recognised, respected and resolved. What has been achieved is fantastic for all those who love sport and love to watch great football. I want to express my appreciation to all four Football Associations for their recognition of just how meaningful it will be for Team GB to compete in football in London 2012.”
FA General Secretary Alex Horne added: “We’re delighted there will be football teams representing Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics. It’s important as the host nation, football plays its part in what is sure to be a fantastic spectacle. We are pleased that the team will be selected from players across the home nations and I’d like to thank our counterparts at the Welsh, Irish and Scottish FAs for their understanding on what is a difficult issue. We will look to confirm coaches of the men’s and women’s teams in due course to allow them to plan and prepare their squads for the games.”
Despite the claims that the FA had consulted the other Home Nations Football Associations, they hit back stating that no such consultation and no agreement had been made to allow their players to take part as a member of Team GB.
Former SFA president George Peat said: “I am absolutely astounded. I know nothing about any such agreement. We want nothing to do with this tournament.”
The Welsh FA also added their opposition to its players’ inclusion in any Team GB side.
Welsh FA president Phil Pritchard said: ”We are not part of any agreement. The FA have no authority to speak on our behalf – they do not represent Wales whatsoever and that’s a fact. We have not discussed this at any time recently.”
And a joint statement from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations published late this afternoon confirmed their opposition to the Olympic teams and their disappointment at the BOA’s announcement.
The statement, signed by SFA chief executive Regan, FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford and IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: “The Football Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland reiterate our collective opposition to Team GB participation at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, contrary to the media release issued by the British Olympic Association today.
“We have been consistently clear in explaining the reason for our stance, principally to protect the identity of each national association. With that in mind, we cannot support nor formally endorse the approach that has been proposed by the Football Association.
“We have stressed this in communications to them and are disappointed that this has been ignored in the media release. No discussions took place with any of us, far less historic agreement been reached, prior to the statement from the BOA being released.
“The Associations are committed to supporting the individual Home Nations playing all representative football under their respective flags as independent members of FIFA and UEFA. This position has been endorsed by supporters of all Home Nations, who have been consulted throughout this process.”
So the question must be asked – Why are the FA and the BOA fabricating an historic agreement?
We all know why the BOA want to have a TEAM GB Football Team. Money. The English game is the richest in the world, and a Great Britain Football Team would have the fans – more so in England – flocking to the games in their tens of thousands.
Some, even on this site, have pointed out that it is primarily Politicians backing Independence for Wales and Scotland that stand against a Team GB. This is not the case. Fans, Politicians, Football officials and Pundits all have stated categorically their opposition to Team GB as FIFA cannot guarantee their independence, despite what Blatter says. And after the recent corruption allegations and an election that Adolf Hitler, Robert Mugabe and Colonel Gaddafi would have been proud of, statements from Sepp Blatter and FIFA should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Scotzine backs the NO TO TEAM GB campaign.