GB team to get FIFA approval

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Football News

FIFA's rulers are set to formally approve a Great Britain football team for the London 2012 Olympics later this week despite opposition from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The issue is to be discussed by FIFA's executive committee in Tokyo and the game's ruling powers are expected to rule in favour of a British team taking part.

A source close to FIFA told PA Sport: "The executive committee are certain to rule in favour of a Great Britain team - but only for London 2012, not beyond."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has already expressed his desire to have the hosts represented at the London Games - and is happy for all the players to be English if the other home nations do not want to take part.

The one FIFA figure who might have opposed the move, FIFA vice-president Jack Warner from Trinidad and Tobago, looks unlikely to do so. He told PA Sport: "I remain open on this matter."

By 2012, it will be 52 years since a British football team has participated in the Olympics. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are fearful that taking part in 2012 would threaten their ability to compete in future international tournaments as separate teams.

FIFA's support for a British team has seen general secretary Jerome Valcke meet Jim Murphy, the secretary of state for Scotland, to assure him that a British team would not threaten the separate identities.

However UEFA president Michel Platini has said he understands the three home nations' opposition, while Scotland's former FIFA vice-president David Will has also warned against taking part.

Meanwhile FIFA have responded to a complaint by Christine Grahame, a member of the Scottish Parliament, that the Government have been interfering in football by campaigning for a British Olympic team.

A FIFA spokesman said: "The subject of a Great Britain team at the London 2012 Olympics is on the agenda for the FIFA executive committee meeting to be held in Tokyo. We did receive a letter from Christine Grahame and have replied to her that the subject of a British Olympic team will be discussed this week."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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