Fifa ruling scuppers bid to field Team GB in Rio

The SFA has been against the formation of a British team for many years. Picture: TSPL
The SFA has been against the formation of a British team for many years. Picture: TSPL
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THE chances of a British men’s football team playing in the 2016 Olympic Games appear to be over after Fifa confirmed all four home nations would have to support a Team GB.

The Scottish Football Association has been against the formation of a British team for many years, concerned about protecting Scotland’s right to enter its own team in major competitions, and took no part in the fielding of a British team at the London Olympics in 2012.

The Football Association of Wales has also been vehemently opposed to the idea. FAW president Trefor Lloyd Hughes said earlier this month he was “livid” at the FA’s actions, and that the FA had promised the teams at the London 2012 Olympics would be a one-off.

The FA wrote to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations in January telling them of its intent to enter men’s and women’s teams for Rio, but Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has confirmed all home nations would have to consent. Boyce said: “I was given an absolute categorical reassurance from Fifa that, unless full agreement could be reached between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there would be no GB team participating at next year’s Olympics.”

But the FA will not give up hope of a British women’s Olympic team. It is understood the FA has prioritised a women’s Olympic team over a men’s and will explore the possibility of the other home nations agreeing to a compromise.

No Scots were involved in the British men’s team for the 2012 Olympics. The 18-man squad comprised of 13 English players and five Welshmen.

But two Scots were in the British women’s squad for the Games – Ifeoma Dieke and Kim Little. All other players in the women’s squad were English.