UK government backs fully British Olympic team

UK government backs fully British Olympic team

Published Apr. 5, 2011 3:04 p.m. ET

Britain's sports minister has urged the soccer associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to let their players join the British team at the 2012 London Olympics.

As of now, the British team will only include Englishmen because the other three nations in the United Kingdom fear their independence within FIFA will be jeopardized by allowing their players to participate.

But sports minister Hugh Robertson emphasized Tuesday that ''cast-iron guarantees'' had been given by FIFA to let top players like Wales winger Gareth Bale play.

Speaking at the SportAccord conference in London, Robertson said he ''would hate to see for political reasons any young man or woman denied a chance to compete for their country.''