Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Olympic statement upset home nations

Posted by Admin On 10:43 AM

The sale of 1.7million Olympic football tickets will begin on Friday with the row over the British teams at the London 2012 Games increasing. The leaders of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland football have reacted with outrage at an historic statement by the British Olympic Association that players from all home nations will be eligible for assortment for Team GB.

The statement by the BOA was made with the knowledge of the Football friendship but came as a shock to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FAs. It means young players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey of Wales, Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans and Scotland's Barry Bannan could play in a Great Britain shirt next year. It also affects selection for the women's team.

Of the 2.3million London 2012 tickets that go up for sale this Friday, all but 600,000 are for men's and women's football - leading to suggestions that the BOA hurried through an announcement of Team GB to rouse interest. Matches will take place all around the country including Glasgow and Cardiff. Scottish Football friendship chief executive Stewart Regan said he had emailed his FA counterpart Alex Horne on Monday night stating their resistance and was stunned to see yesterday's statement.

Regan told Press friendship Sport:I sent Alex Horne an email saying we could not support or endorse the Team GB but that we recognized from a legal position we couldn't stand in the way of a player opting to play for Team GB.I asked if we could be kept in the loop so to see a statement made today came as a shock to me and all the other associations. None of us knew this was going to occur.

The BOA said the FA had consulted the other relations about player selection. A 'long list' of players from across Britain will be drawn up by the director of the men's and women's teams, and the players each asked to corroborate their accessibility. A statement of the two squads of 18 players will be made in the summer of 2012.

Horne said they had no choice but to abide by the Olympic Charter and agree to all British players being eligible. He said:It is clear that under the Olympic Charter there has to be a unbiased selection process for all players. These are not the FA rules.

The BOA claimed that all the associations were aware there could be an declaration made in June. The British men's team will be made up of under-23s but three over-age players are also allowed. The women's team can be of any age.


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