Great Britain do not normally take part in the Olympic Football Tournament since there is no Great Britain team and all four UK countries take part in UEFA and FIFA competitions as separate member associations.

England won the FIFA World Cup in 1966, Scottish Champions Celtic won the European Cup in 1967 and in earlier times Northern Ireland and Wales have taken part in the final stages of the World Cup.

The national identity of the four British home associations has been sacrosanct.

The London Olympic Games have presented a different scenario.

As the host nation it is expected that there will be a Team GB in the Football Tournament but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland fear that by taking part in a joint team this could compromise the future integrity of the four home associations.

This may or not be the case.

I believe the special circumstances of a one off team taking part in the London Olympics would not endanger the status of the four home associations but some disagree.

What is beyond doubt, however, is that football is the only sport in the Olympic Games which does not regard an Olympic gold medal as the pinnacle of achievement.

Winning the FIFA World Cup is the top prize in football.

There has been controversy in UK in the past few days about the composition of the GB Team. David Beckham, a very influential supporter of the Games Bid, has been omitted by coach Stuart Pearce.

It is also reported that there will be no Scottish or Northern Irish players in the squad, although two of the overage players will be Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy of Wales.

The Olympic Football Tournament is different things to different countries. To Spain, Brazil and Argentina it is a well trodden training ground for potential World Cup players.

For Team GB in London 2012 it is a one off hybrid tournament with no long term
legacy.

Football is the only Olympic sport with over 1 million unsold tickets.

Maybe Beckham would have added the necessary marketing and glamour required by a GB Team which has so far failed to capture the UK public’s imagination.

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