GB Olympic football team: Q & A

Q: Who is eligible to play?

A: Different rules apply for the men's and women's tournaments. In the case of the men, countries are represented by an Under-23 team - though three over-age players are allowed. There are no age limits for the women's tournament.

For the British team, players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will all be eligible to appear, though this has been a controversial subject.

Q: How so?

A: The Scottish, Welsh and Irish Football Associations are opposed to a combined GB team and feel that allowing their players to feature would compromise their independent status within FIFA, though they have accepted (publicly or privately) that they will be powerless to prevent their players taking part should they so wish.

The only player who has so far ruled out playing is Julie Fleeting, a prolific striker for the Arsenal and Scotland women's teams. Club and country strike partner Kim Little, though, is keen to be involved.

On the men's side, Wales starlets Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey hope to play, with Ramsey saying last month: "If given the opportunity, it's one that I'd like to take. I've heard that Gareth has the same feelings towards that."

Q: Why is the English FA in charge of picking the teams?

A: The responsibility ultimately falls to the British Olympic Association but they delegate this on a sport-by-sport basis to governing bodies. Generally these have responsibility for the sport across the United Kingdom (for example UK Athletics, British Cycling), but there are occasions when the organisation for one country takes overall charge.

In the case of England Hockey or Scotland's Royal Caledonian Curling Club, this is a question of resources, but the BOA's hand has been forced in football by the other countries' opposition to the project.

Q: With all this fuss, are Great Britain generally any good in the tournament?

A: Britain won three of the first four men's tournaments - in 1904, 1908 and 1912 - but competed without further success in every Games up until Munich 1972 (apart from Los Angeles 1932, when the sport did not appear). In 1974, the FA scrapped the distinction between amateur and professional players and this year will be the team's first appearance since then.

Women's football only made its first appearance at the 1996 Games, in Atlanta, so this will be the first appearance by a British women's team.

Q: How many teams play in the tournament?

A: Sixteen in the men's tournament, 12 in the women's.

Q: Which nations have qualified?

A: The women's line-up is almost complete, with just two CONCACAF nations, one from Oceania and a second from Africa to join the host nation, World Cup winners Japan, much-fancied Brazil, Colombia, North Korea, South Africa, Sweden and France. Nigeria and Cameroon will play off for the second African berth on Saturday, with Nigeria leading 2-1 from the first leg.

In the men's tournament, only the European qualifiers - Spain, Switzerland, Belarus and the hosts - and those from South America - Brazil and Uruguay - are known.

Q: Who are the reigning gold medallists?

A: Reigning men's champions Argentina will be absent from the tournament after only finishing third in this year's South American Youth Championship, which served as the qualifying event. Women's title-holders the United States will expect to qualify from the CONCACAF preliminary competition, which takes place in January.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
footballBut the Newcastle United midfielder's news has 'left his mistress furious'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style