NASSAU - FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was pleased that British football associations had reached agreement over participation in the 2012 Olympic Games. A compromise deal was reached on Friday whereby the British team at the London Games will be made up of entirely English players, largely due to the refusal of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland's authorities to play as a combined team. A British team has not competed at the Olympics since 1960 but the U.K Government has been determined to have one at the London Games even if it is not representative of all the nations that make up the United Kingdom. "I am happy because I said at the very beginning, don't make a big story out of it. You have to bring a GB team so just take one of the four associations and they did it," said Blatter at a news conference before FIFA's congress in the Bahamas. "It is easy so I am happy, they are happy, the International Olympic Committee is happy and the (London) organising committee is happy," said Blatter. Blatter had said the individual associations would not risk their independent status by playing as a joint team but the non-English associations had remained vehemently opposed to such a suggestion. FIFA said it had received a letter signed by the four British associations stating that both men's and women's teams would be made up solely of English players. The arrangement is expected to be ratified at the FIFA congress on Tuesday and will also need to be rubber-stamped by the British Olympic Association.
31 May 2009
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