Rio return unlikely for Brit women

Rio return unlikely for Brit women

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Great Britain’s women’s football team is unlikely to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the general secretary of the Football Association was reported as saying yesterday.

Alex Horne said the team would probably not return for Rio as the English Football Association did not want the sovereignty of the four “home nations” of Britain jeopardised by the presence of a British team in Olympics.

“Within the men’s game, it’s not going to happen again,” Horne told The Times newspaper when asked if there would be a unified team for the next European Under-21 Championship finals, which constitute the qualification process for the Rio Games.

“On the women’s side I’m going to say it’s unlikely, for the same reason.

“But you can understand why it’s more compelling. Olympic football for women is the pinnacle.” Women’s head coach Hope Powell had said she hoped a British team would take part in 2016 after her side’s promising performances at London 2012, played out in front of record crowds before ending with a quarter-final loss to Canada.

The attendances peaked at over 70,000 for their final group game against Brazil at Wembley Stadium on July 31.

Great Britain have traditionally not entered a team for the Olympics in fear that football’s world governing body FIFA would use the precedent to force the four home nations of the United Kingdom -- England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -- to join forces at all levels of international football.
The men’s and women’s Great Britain teams qualified automatically for 2012 because the British capital London was the host city.