The Guardian has reported that the FA have said it is unlikely there will be a Women’s Great Britain team and there will definitely be no Men’s GB team in the 2016 Olympics games in Rio de Janeiro.
I for one think this is a huge mistake, but comes as no surprise. It always seemed clear that a Great Britain team was always going to be a one of, that’s why I don’t understand players like Gareth Bale didn’t want to compete in it. It was literally a once in a life time opportunity.
If you look at the teams that competed in the tournament you can see the positives that come form the Olympic tournament, and if you look at the GB team it is even more evident at what a success they were. Okay they didn’t get a medal, but player like Butland got something more important for his international career, international experience. The Olympic tournament is different to a U-21 tournament. The crowds are bigger, there are more experienced players and the stakes are much higher. The Welsh players also had a lot to gain from the Olympic tournament. And that is not isolated to the younger players as this was Ryan Giggs’ biggest run out at international level.
As for the women’s tournament, it will be a huge shame that no GB team will be included in Rio 2016 as this years’ Olympics has given the women’s game more coverage than it ever had . With the performances they gave they really did us proud. Many would not have watched the Women’s World Cup final, but millions tuned in to watch GB beat Brazil 1-0 and a record breaking 70,584 watched it at Wembley. The likes of Alex Scott, Jill Scott, Kelly Smith and Steph Houghton will have inspired a whole generation of women of all ages to take up football and changed the way they view it, for that to be taken away just doesn’t seem to match the “spirit” of the Olympics. So where is the “legacy” here?
I can understand that The FA are worried that the qualification for Rio 2016 could harm the footballing sovereignty of the home nations, but surely there can be some king of arrangement that can be met. I mean there were athletes competing for the Olympics on behalf of the International Olympic Committee as they had no nation to represent. It will be a great shame for both the men and women’s team that they will not be able to again have the chance to represent their country at the Olympics.
I guess that it just makes all that more special for all those men and women that competed in the London 2012 Olympic football tournament.