Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 25 November 2014

FA to consult clubs over Olympics

Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere would only be chosen for both the London 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012 finals with Arsenal's agreement, Football Association general secretary Alex Horne has insisted.

The 19-year-old Arsenal midfielder is now part of Fabio Capello's England plans, but has said he would also like to play for a British Olympic team next year. The FA have said they would not select any player for the Olympic squad who had been to the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.

But asked about Wilshere wanting to play in both tournaments, Horne said: "We would have a conversation with Arsene and Jack to see if it was feasible. It means the player will get no summer holiday, depending on how long we are in Poland and Ukraine for."

Horne added: "It's tough. It's how Arsenal feel about it as they are the employer and as an athlete you have got to take a rest.

"The idea is to appoint a manager to select a team in May [2012], but not take anyone to Poland/Ukraine and then ask them to play in the Olympics because there is only four weeks in between and that's not fair on the clubs or the players."

Horne met with leaders of the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh FAs last week over the issue of selecting players, but admitted the other associations are refusing to budge from their position of the Olympic teams being English-only. The British Olympic Association say that cannot be allowed as it is discriminatory.

Horne added: "It's a bit of stalemate. What was helpful for me was to understand the depth of feeling. I had heard it from [BOA chief executive] Andy Hunt before and now I've heard it from the three other home associations.

"I think there is a way through this but it's difficult.

"We have to have a team to participate in the Olympics. I could get comfortable with the notion that it was an English-only team but I completely understand why the BOA are uncomfortable with that.

"I also have sympathy for the position of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales saying they don't want their players to play for an English team. It has to be picked on merit, that's why I think the discrimination argument from the BOA is quite weak."

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