Great Britain never enters a football team into the Olympics. While the International Olympic Committee recognizes Great Britain, FIFA recognizes each of the four individual nations, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As a result, there is no football association to form a Great Britain team and represent them in the Olympics. With the 2012 Olympics being hosted in London though, they have decided to enter a British team and today it was announced that all four nations would take part, but not everyone is happy with it.
Initially, there was concern as to whether or not the Scotland, Wales and North Ireland would be able to keep their independence and football associations if they worked for a British team and their representation on various football boards may be in doubt. They had zero interest in participating in the Olympics and there was talk that the Britain team may only have players from England.
The debate as to whether or not it would be a true Britain team has gone on and on, but today, the British Olympic Association announced that an agreement had been reached on the matter. All players from all four nations would be available.
"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."
There was one problem with that. Apparently the other FA's did not know about this. George Peat, president of the Scottish FA, quickly came out and slammed what the BOA dubbed a "historic agreement."
"I am absolutely astounded that they have put out this statement." Peat said. "I know nothing about any such agreement and we want nothing to do with this tournament."
So where exactly are we now? The BOA will call in players from all the nations and those players will have to decide if they want to defy their own FA's? That's nice.
It really is a shame because the prospect of a team made up of all the British players was fun. Of course for the English getting to root for Gareth Bale only to see him go back to Wales after the tournament would just be cruel so maybe this is just a matter of preserving the health of the English? It's okay though, David Beckham wants in and he can certainly heal any pains the country might have. If not, Posh will.