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Team GB could be English only

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The British Olympic Association (BOA) and UK Government have been accused of acting like “schoolkids” after stating their determination to enter a British football team into the Olympics against the express wishes of the Irish (IFA), Scottish (SFA), and Welsh (FAW) FA’s. Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has insisted that both male and female teams would be entered and said he has written assurances from Fifa that this would not threaten the sovereignty of the home nations.

Speaking in a debate at Parliament’s Westminster Hall he was asked if a purely English team was a possibility in representing Team GB at 2012.

“That is the sad fact of what is going to happen unless we can try and resolve this issue,” said Sutcliffe.

But the sports minister’s position was attacked by spokesperson Tam Ferry who said: “The BOA has no moral authority to enter a British football Team into the 2012 Olympics, against wishes of the SFA, IFA and FAW.

“Reassurances from any Fifa are meaningless. No individual can make any reassurances on the future existence of our home nations’ teams as it’s the entire Fifa membership, not any individual, that would decide the future of our national teams.” argue that the home nations’ “privileged” positions within Fifa are at risk if football’s Team GB plays in 2012. Fifa statutes say that membership depends on a country being recognised as an ‘independent state’ – how the home nations could claim this should they join together when it suits is a question the BOA have not seriously acknowledged.

The campaign argues that instead of the BOA asking Fifa to bend their rules they should look at the BOA’s own rules and consider asking the International Olympic Committee for special dispensation for a Team England, Team Scotland, Team Wales, and Team Northern Ireland to participate in Olympic football.

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