The spirit of Team GB will not live on for home nations football after it was revealed that Great Britain would not be fielding a team in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Five Welsh players including Ryan Giggs joined up with their English counterparts for the men’s team during the London 2012 tournament, while the women’s side featured two Scots. However, plans to repeat the performance next year have now been scrapped.
Support for the novel teams, especially the women’s side, was strong in 2012, with the women taking advantage of the opportunity to promote the sport.
However, this time round English FA has failed to gain support for the proposal from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland according to reports. Sky Sports claims that despite the English FA’s keenness to promote youth development, the other home nations believed that 2012’s Team GB squad was a “one-off”.
The news comes as a reshuffled England side prepare to face Italy in a friendly on Tuesday, beginning on ITV at 7.30pm.
In the men’s Olympic football competition, squads are made up of players up to the age of 23, with the exception of three ‘over-age’ players per nation. There are no age restrictions in the women’s competition.
The decision means the likes of Real Madrid and Wales’s Gareth Bale are now highly unlikely to feature in Brazil. The Football Association of Wales, along with their Scottish and Irish counterparts, are concerned that if they continued to feature as a united team in the Olympics then there would be pressure on them to unite permanently.
Six venues will host the football at Rio 2016, including the Maracana Stadium, site of the 2014 World Cup final.
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