Great Britain working to get soccer teams into Olympics
The soccer federations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland will get together for annual meetings as they try to agree on some deal that will allow Great Britain to enter men's and women's teams into the Olympics going forward. The push is being made by the England FA, but there is still some hesitancy from the three others.
FIFA recognizes each of the four Home Nations separately, so they all have individual Football Associations and national teams. However, the International Olympic Committee recognizes only Great Britain, so if the four countries could have to come together to form single teams for the Olympics. They did that in 2012, when the Games were hosted by London, but otherwise have chosen not to field teams for the Olympics.
While it would be a thrill for anyone to participate in the Olympics, it's especially important for the women's team. The exposure that the Olympics presents is terrific for a spot that is still growing and looking for a wider audience. A British team would have qualified for the 2016 Olympics because of England's third place finish at the 2015 World Cup, but because Great Britain chose not to field a team, the spot instead went to Sweden, which finished second in Rio.
“The big fear in the past was that if we did it we would jeopardize our individual country status. That issue was sorted out under Blatter and Gianni has also reinforced it,” FA chairman Greg Clarke said. “That’s not the issue, it becomes whether it suits the interest of all the home nations.”
With four years to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and annual meetings now scheduled, not to mention the support of Infantino, there appears more momentum to get Great Britain into Olympic soccer on a regular basis than ever before.
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