BOA Claims of Team GB Agreement Refuted by Furious Celtic FAs

June 22, 2011

After the British Olympic Association (BOA) announced an historic ‘landmark’ in supposedly securing the inclusion of a Team GB soccer squad at next year’s Olympics, including players from all four home nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Celtic nations reacted furiously to the claims, saying no such agreement had been reached.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s football associations (FAs) all refuted the suggestion that they would allow their national team players to compete alongside those from England at the London 2012 Olympics after the BOA issued a press statement claiming that agreement had been reached to field teams in both the men’s and women’s soccer competitions.

This lead the 3 Celtic nations to release a joint response rejecting any such agreement and insisting that they all remained opposed to the idea of a Team GB at next year’s Games.

Despite their objections, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have no legal means of preventing players from the home nations being selected, meaning that players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey of Wales, who have both made their desire to appear at the tournament clear, could line up alongside English counterparts in 2012.

The BOA revealed that, under a formula that places the emphasis for agreeing availability on individuals rather than the national associations, players will have to confirm their availability “following discussions with their respective professional clubs and Home Associations”.

Squads of 18 will be selected next year, with 15 of the men’s players required to be under 23. The FA has already said no players involved in the 2012 European Championships will be available.

The BOA’s statement said that the FA, as the “designated national governing body for Olympic football”, had agreed a deal that would allow the squads to be selected from all four home nations.

Through Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan, the Celtic nations quickly responded, stating: “The football associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland reiterate our collective opposition to Team GB participation at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, contrary to the media release issued by the British Olympic Association today.

“This announcement came completely out of the blue. There is no ‘historic agreement’, no endorsement of Team GB, and as far as I am aware this has been done without the backing of the home associations.”

BOA chief executive Andy Hunt has remained insistent, despite the claims otherwise, that a deal has been struck and that British fans will get the extremely rare chance to see players from all four nations play alongside one another.