BOA 'incredibly positive' about Great Britain teams for London
Monday 20 June 2011
The British Olympic Association are "incredibly positive" an agreement will be reached to pick players from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the London 2012 football tournaments.
The BOA chief executive, Andy Hunt, is increasingly hopeful that the likes of Wales internationals Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, for the men, and Scotland's Julie Fleeting, for the women, will get a chance to play for Olympic gold.
But Hunt indicated that failure to secure an agreement could mean the BOA deciding not to enter teams for fear of breaching Olympic anti-discrimination rules.
"I have been at this for over two years," Hunt said. "I am incredibly positive that we will get to an outcome where we will field a men's and a women's football team. We have got some final things to resolve... but I am incredibly positive. More positive than I have ever been before when asked that question."
The sticking point has been the unwillingness of the Irish, Welsh and Scottish Football Associations to sanction the selection of their players for the London Games next year. They fear a dilution of power within world football governance – the loss of the Fifa vice-presidency guaranteed to one of the four home associations and their places on the International FA board – as well as pressure to unite permanently as Great Britain.
However, there is no legal impediment to a player from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland making themselves available for selection next summer.
Hunt's optimism is tempered by a warning that an English-only Great Britain team might see the BOA fall foul of International Olympic Committee rules.
"Any policy that is discriminatory would be in breach of the Olympic Charter – it's as simple as that," Hunt said. "That's why it was never acceptable to us to have a selection policy that may have only been for English players."
Who could make Team GB?
Players (excluding those from England) who are eligible for the Olympics squad as they are under 23 in summer 2012
* Grant Hanley, defender, Blackburn and Scotland
* Danny Wilson, defender, Liverpool and Scotland
* Neil Taylor, defender, Swansea and Wales
* Johnny Gorman, midfielder, Wolves and Northern Ireland
* Corry Evans, midfielder, Man Utd and Northern Ireland
* Oliver Norwood, midfielder, Man Utd and Northern Ireland
* Barry Bannan, midfielder, Aston Villa and Scotland
* James Forrest, midfielder, Celtic and Scotland
* Gareth Bale, midfielder, Spurs and Wales
* Joe Allen, midfielder, Swansea and Wales
* Aaron Ramsey, midfielder, Arsenal and Wales
* Liam Boyce, forward, Werder Bremen and Northern Ireland
* Sam Vokes, forward, Wolves and Wales
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