TheOtherRob Posted March 2, 2015 Report Share Posted March 2, 2015 (edited) Well, I'll be blowed, looks like the FA wants to try to send a team to Rio after all.... The English FA has pledged to enter men’s and women’s Team GB teams for the Rio 2016 Olympics, despite opposition from the Welsh FA. The FA’s decision to try to qualify a men’s under-23 team as well as a women’s team for Rio has provoked a backlash from its Welsh counterpart, which believes it has not been fully consulted. It had been assumed that the entry of a GB men’s team into the London 2012 Games was a one-off designed to capitalise on a home Olympics. On his final day in the job, the former FA general secretary Alex Horne is understood to have written to the other home nations to inform them the FA would enter a team in the Rio Games. Horne had said, after London 2012, the FA would not seek to enter a men’s side in 2016 but would keep the matter under review for the women’s team. In order to qualify, England must finish in the top four of the men’s under-21 tournament in the summer, while for the women’s competition the top three European teams in the 2015 World Cup in Canada will qualify. The English FA holds the final say over whether to enter a British team because it acts as the national governing body representative for the British Olympic Association, having been a founder member in 1908. Before the London Games, which featured a combined team for the first time since 1960, there were fears from some of the other home nations that entering a British side could open the door for Fifa to challenge the idea of having separate sides. But following written confirmation from Fifa president Sepp Blatter that there was no risk to the privileges enjoyed by the home nations, eventually the Welsh and Scottish FAs grudgingly accepted there was little they could do. Stuart Pearce’s 18-man squad, which exited to South Korea in the quarter-finals, ultimately contained five Welsh players - Ryan Giggs, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, Neil Taylor - but none from Scotland or Northern Ireland. Under Olympic rules, the under-23 squad can be augmented with three over age players. Alongside well as Giggs and Bellamy, Micah Richards was included in 2012 at the expense of David Beckham. One intriguing sub-plot may surround whether or not the manager of the side, most likely to be Gareth Southgate if they qualify, would opt to pick Gareth Bale or other overage players that may cause issues with their clubs. Some clubs may also have concerns over releasing players due to commitments with close season overseas tours. Previously, it had been assumed that while efforts would be made to again qualify a women’s team given the boost in exposure that an Olympics would bring, the notion of entering a men’s side was off the agenda. But FA technical director Dan Ashworth and under 21 coach Gareth Southgate were understood to be enthusiastic about the idea of trying to qualify, believing it will give young players valuable tournament experience. England’s coach Roy Hodgson has pledged to work with Southgate to make players available if selected, even if they have already progressed to the senior squad. The Olympics football tournament has always been taken seriously by many other nations, particularly in South America and Africa, and the feeling at St George’s Park was that it will be a useful extra element of ongoing efforts to better co-ordinate the England development sides and senior team. It is part of a plan that also includes staging the European under-17 championships in 2018 and efforts under Ashworth and Southgate to introduce a common footballing philosophy across all England teams. A BOA spokesman said: “We have received confirmation from the FA of their intention to enter into the qualification process for Rio 2016 for both men and women’s tournaments.” While the men’s side limped out of the London 2012 tournament on penalties, the competition was seen as a major staging post in promoting the women’s game. The British side beat Brazil at Wembley in front of more than 70,000 fans before also going out in the quarter-finals to Canada. The Welsh FA’s disgruntlement with its English counterparts – for taking the decision without its approval – is compounded by changes to the way in which the seat on the Fifa executive committee, formerly reserved for the home nations, will be filled. Under the old system, it was filled on a rotational basis and it would have been the turn of Wales next. But now the position is voted on by the Uefa executive and David Gill, the former Manchester United chief executive, has been persuaded to stand. http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/02/team-gb-olympic-games-2016-rio-games-fa-wales Edited March 2, 2015 by Rob. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.