Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

No GB football team "a travesty"

It would be "an absolute travesty" for London 2012 to take place without British teams in the football tournament, according to British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt.

A deadline of May 31 has been set by FIFA, football’s world governing body, for the four home associations to come to an agreement on a British Olympic men’s and women’s team.

But IFA president Raymond Kennedy and his Scottish and Welsh counterparts remain opposed to any team — even one made up of purely English players — and time is running out.

Hunt is still hopeful a compromise solution will be reached but said his offers of help had not been taken up.

He said: "A letter has gone out from FIFA looking for the home nations to become joined up in their response before the end of May.

"We have been looking to see whether we can facilitate this as we believe most people in the country want to see a men’s and a women’s football team at the London Olympics.

“We really think it would be an absolute travesty if we didn’t have a GB football team and we really hope there will be a solution to this in the coming few weeks."

Hunt said it was "conceivable" the three other home nations could agree to an English-only team, or for FIFA to do so.

He also said he had been "disappointed" FIFA had not allowed a British women's team at last year's Beijing Games.

He added: "I am hopeful there might be a compromise solution."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk