Scotland and Wales FAs 'furious' over GB Olympic 'agreement'

Footballers from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England will be available for selection for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games after an "historic agreement" was announced by the British Olympic Association today.

There has been opposition to all-British teams taking part in the Olympic Games from all the home nations apart from England, but the BOA said an agreement has been reached.

A BOA statement said: "Consistent with requirements set out in the Olympic Charter, the selection criteria will be entirely non-discriminatory, as players from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other territories which fall under the BOA's remit, who meet the approved competitive standard will be eligible for consideration and selection.

"The FA has consulted with its partner associations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in developing the player-selection criteria and timeline."

A 'long list' of players will be drawn up by the managers of the men's and women's teams and they will each be asked to confirm their availability. This will then be reduced to a shortlist and an announcement of the two squads will follow in the summer of 2012.

The announcement sparked outrage from the Scottish and Welsh FAs.

Former Scottish Football Association president George Peat told Press Association Sport: "I am absolutely astounded that they have put out this statement. I know nothing about any such agreement and we want nothing to do with this tournament."

Welsh FA president Phil Pritchard was equally furious, saying the FA had no right to speak on behalf of the other associations on Olympic matters.

Pritchard told Press Association Sport: "We are not part of any agreement. The FA have no authority to speak on our behalf - they do not represent Wales whatsoever and that's a fact.

"We have not discussed this at any time recently."

The statement from the BOA quoted FA general secretary Alex Horne as thanking the other FAs for their "understanding".

Horne says in the statement: "We're delighted there will be football teams representing Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

"It's important as the host nation, football plays its part in what is sure to be a fantastic spectacle.

"We are pleased that the team will be selected from players across the home nations and I'd like to thank our counterparts at the Welsh, Irish and Scottish FAs for their understanding on what is a difficult issue.

"We will look to confirm coaches of the men's and women's teams in due course to allow them to plan and prepare their squads for the games."

Jim Boyce, Britain's FIFA vice-president and former president of the Irish FA, said he knew of no agreement.

Boyce told Press Association Sport: "The three associations have made it clear to me they will not be changing their decision about a British Olympic team and I know nothing about any agreement."

A joint statement from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations expressed their opposition to the Olympic teams and their disappointment at the BOA's announcement.

The statement, signed by SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford and IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson says: "The Football Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland reiterate our collective opposition to Team GB participation at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, contrary to the media release issued by the British Olympic Association today.

"We have been consistently clear in explaining the reason for our stance, principally to protect the identity of each national association. With that in mind, we cannot support nor formally endorse the approach that has been proposed by the Football Association.

"We have stressed this in communications to them and are disappointed that this has been ignored in the media release. No discussions took place with any of us, far less historic agreement been reached, prior to the statement from the BOA being released.

"The Associations are committed to supporting the individual Home Nations playing all representative football under their respective flags as independent members of FIFA and UEFA. This position has been endorsed by supporters of all Home Nations, who have been consulted throughout this process."

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