FIFA pledge over 'team GB' rejected

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Scotland's First Minister on Wednesday night rejected a FIFA pledge that a British Olympic football team would not threaten the future of the Scotland national side.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy claimed he had been assured by a top official that Team GB could participate in the 2012 London Olympics without damaging the future of the home nations, but Alex Salmond insisted the idea was still a non-starter despite assurances from FIFA chief executive Jerome Valcke.

The First Minister said: "To jeopardise the entire future of Scottish international football on the basis of an undertaking from one official, at one point in time, I think is daft. And all for participation in an under-23 tournament of a few players."

The Scottish Football Association also repeated its hostility to the idea of a united British team.

"While we would welcome any statement from FIFA, we have to be clear that FIFA is an organisation made up of its members and it is their views on the precedent that a Team GB would set that are so important in this issue," said a spokesman.

He went on: "We will not do anything that we feel would jeopardise our status as a footballing nation in our own right. At this stage we feel that a Team GB does just that.

"At some point there is a real danger that a precedent of a Team GB will come back and threaten our status as a separate nation."

Murphy told BBC Radio Scotland he had received the assurance on Tuesday from the FIFA chief executive.

"Scottish teenagers of today can be the Olympians of 2012 and can do so safe in the knowledge that the Scottish national team is safe," said Murphy.

"The proposal is for a UK team as a one-off in the Olympics in London in 2012 for players under the age of 23."

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