London 2012 Olympics: Chris Coleman happy to see back of Team GB
WALES manager Chris Coleman says he is pleased a Great Britain football team will probably not play at the next Olympics.
Alex Horne, the general secretary of the Football Association, admitted yesterday it was “unlikely” that the concept of a unified Team GB would be resurrected at the Rio Games in 2016.
The men’s and women’s football teams qualified for 2012 by dint of host nation berths, but concerns over unifying the four home nations over the longer term meant GB’s involvement was only billed as a one-off.
Five Welsh players played at the London Olympics despite opposition from the Football Association of Wales. “I don’t lose any sleep over the fact we won’t be having a Team GB in the next Olympics,” Coleman said. “Where my country’s concerned, I think it’s better off for us in the long run that everything resumes to the way it was and there isn’t going to be any extra games to play.”
But Team GB and Arsenal striker Kelly Smith, who helped the women reach the quarter-finals of the London tournament, said it would be a shame if the team did not compete again when the Olympics head to Brazil. “That’s a shame because you see the exposure we got at these Olympics,” Smith said following Horne’s comments. “I’m praying that in 2016 in Brazil there is a women’s team.”
A record British women’s football crowd of 70,584 saw the host nation beat Brazil 1-0 at Wembley in their last group game. And Smith, England’s record goalscorer, wants women’s football to build on that success. “We got a tremendous amount of exposure,” added the 33-year-old. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To play in [front of] record crowds, to get people to come out and support women’s football was fantastic.
“Hopefully we can build on the momentum of that and see more crowds at women’s football.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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