Scotland international Fleeting turns back on Olympics
Friday 24 June 2011
Arsenal striker Julie Fleeting insists playing for Scotland means much more to her than representing Great Britain at the Olympics and she will be watching - and not participating - when London 2012 comes around.
The Scottish Football Association and those of Wales and Northern Ireland have condemned the "historic announcement" of the British Olympic Association earlier this week, in which it was stated players from all the home nations would be eligible to represent Team GB at London 2012.
Since then Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington, Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Inverness counterpart Terry Butcher have all stated they would not stand in the way of any of their players who chose to participate even though the three home associations have long opposed an all-British team, fearing it could affect their separate identities in world football.
Fleeting insists her focus goes no further than Scotland as she is wary of setting a precedent which could come back to haunt future generations.
"First and foremost I am a Scottish international and that's the most important thing for me," the 30-year-old told the Scotsman.
"The SFA (Scottish Football Association] make all the decisions in terms of the national team. I would definitely not step out and say I would like to play for Team GB.
"I am excited about (the Olympics) but I am excited about it as a spectator.
"It's never been that I have wanted to play in the Olympics. That's never been a dream.
"It might mean our girls would not have the opportunity to play for the national team in the future because some of us went to play for Team GB.
"I know there are young kids who are playing now and who are striving to pull on the Scotland jersey.
"There is a chance they would not gain that opportunity if we became Team GB.
"I would not want to jeopardise that. That's not a risk any of us are willing to take."
Fleeting's father Jim is director of football development at the SFA and she insists the pair of them are in agreement.
"I don't really talk to my father about it but he would say the exact same thing," she added.
"He would never want to see it jeopardised as well. We are both of the same opinion."
England Under-21 midfielder Jack Rodwell, however, has expressed his desire to be part of London 2012.
"I would definitely like to be involved," the 20-year-old told everton.tv.
"You always want to test yourself at a high level and I would be proud to represent Great Britain.
"It is effectively a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in something like that and the chance to win an Olympic medal would be amazing."
Wales and Celtic defender Adam Matthews admits he too would jump at the chance to be involved.
"I think every player would be interested in being in the Olympics," he said.
"If the chance comes up I would take it."
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