FA hopes to attract Scottish players to Olympics

The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Picture: Getty
The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Picture: Getty
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SCOTTISH players would not be prevented from playing for a Great Britain Olympic team at the Rio 2016 Olympics despite their association’s opposition to the plan.

The Football Association intends to enter men’s and women’s teams for Rio despite originally saying London 2012 would be a one-off.

The Scottish FA says it continues to oppose the move as it could threaten the home nations’ separate status on Fifa and law-making body the International FA Board, but it is understood it will not prevent players taking part – two Scottish internationals played for the women’s team at London 2012.

The Welsh FA president Trefor Lloyd Hughes on Tuesday condemned the FA’s plan for a GB team, saying he was “livid” with the move.

A Scottish FA spokesperson said: “We have been consistently clear in our opposition to Team GB and, in particular, the threat it poses to our independent membership of Fifa and also our representation on the International Football Association Board.”

FA technical director Dan Ashworth and England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate are keen on entering Olympic teams to encourage development of young talent and to help the profile of the women’s game.

Meanwhile, Stuart Peace, who was coach of the British men’s team in London, said playing in the Olympics was a fantastic experience.

Pearce told Sky Sports News yesterday: “Probably the best thing the home nations could do is go and ask the 18 players that went to the Olympics in 2012 – ‘Did they enjoy the experience? Did it blow their minds? And was it beneficial to them as individuals and footballers? To a man they would say it was fantastic.

“I was given the job by my employers at the FA and basically, I don’t think I got the support from the other home nations.

“I don’t really think they wanted their players to go but the strength that footballers have in this day and age...

“You can’t tell an Aaron Ramsey or a Ryan Giggs to step away and not go to an Olympic Games.

“It was fantastic and the players themselves, the majority of them anyway, wanted to go and be part of it.”

Pearce said he would leap at the chance to manage a Team GB side again.

“100 per cent and I think whoever gets the opportunity to manage that team is in for an absolute treat,” he added

“They won’t believe how big the Olympic umbrella is. I have been to World Cups as a player and as a coach but this was quite incredible.”