Will there be a Great Britain football team participating in the 2012 Olympic Games?

Team GB

In the Olympics the home nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are represented together as one body called team Great Britain meaning that athletes represent Great Britain as a whole rather than their individual nation.

Football at the Olympic Games 


The footballing competition at the Olympic Games is fast becoming one of the most popular events at the Olympics with many countries such as Argentina and Brazil taking this very seriously. For the spectators being able to see some of the world’s best football players is certainly a big draw for the event.

Structure of football at the Olympics

Football at the Olympics is a competition traditionally for players under the age of 23 with four players over that age being able to be present in the squad. This enables some of the world’s best to be eligible to play in the tournament.

Football at the London 2012 Olympics

The decision on the structure of football at the 2012 Olympics has not yet been decided upon but it is thought that players will only be eligible if they are under 21 with the potential for overage players being scrapped.

Many feel that due to the fact the 2012 Olympics will be held in London and the potential of the young British players it would be a great opportunity for another gold medal to enter a British team.

Will this happen?

Currently the only Football Federation from Britain which is in agreement with the idea is the English – the Football Association.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW), the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and Northern Ireland’s Irish Football Association (IFA) are all strongly opposed to the idea.

Do all the nations have to agree for Team GB to happen?

For a team GB to be present in the 2012 Olympic Games representing the home nations there must be an agreement for this to happen between all of the home nations. One suggestion has been that there would be a team GB but this would be made up of only English players.

Agreement reached between the home nations

The home nations had to reach an agreement with each other and provide the details of this agreement to FIFA by May 2009 if there is to be any chance of a team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games. The agreement was reached that there could be a Team GB but this would only be made up of English payers. In fact the agreement from the other home nations was simply that they would not oppose England doing this.

Why are the other home nations opposed to the idea?

It is the thought of many that a successful football team comprising of British players would have the affect of uniting the UK during a time which should be seen as a celebration – the Olympic Games being held in London.

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For more information on:

  • The independence of the home nations
  • Loss of this independence
  • Would this in fact be the case?
  • The International Football Association Board (IFAB)
  • What is the International Football Association Board?