Coe backs Ferguson as Team GB manager

LORD Coe yesterday went public with his backing for Sir Alex Ferguson to manage the Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics.

Coe, the chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, confirmed holding informal discussions with the Manchester United manager, but did not divulge whether the Scot was interested in the post. "I would love to see Alex coach the team," Coe said.

"I can't think of anybody that frankly (more] deserves at the end of a stunning career to be in charge of young players here."

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He added: "I've spoken to Alex. We know each other. We're good friends."

Chelsea fan Coe's bid to land Ferguson first came to light two months ago, at which time United expressed a relaxed attitude about the approach.

Ferguson was thought to be intrigued by the offer but reluctant to accept were it to interfere with his duties at Old Trafford.

The concept of a British team, which last entered the Olympic qualifying tournament with an amateur side in 1972, is controversial.

Both the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales are opposed to it, with the

fear being that they could lose their individual status within world governing body, Fifa.

The venues for the football tournament are currently limited to England, with Old Trafford, St James' Park, Villa Park and Wembley Stadium all to host matches.

Coe said he would "love" to include Glasgow's Hampden Park and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on the schedule. But he revealed he would not lobby the Scottish and Welsh FAs, adding: "I'm not going to get sleepless nights over it."