POSTED: November 10th 2008

Cameron sets Olympic goal

Golden moment: Javier Mascherano hails Argentina's Olympic triumph in Beijing /
Golden moment: Javier Mascherano hails Argentina's Olympic triumph in Beijing /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: David Cameron, leader of the UK’s Conservative opposition party, has come up with a novel proposal to end the impasse over the appearance of a British football team at London 2012.

Cameroon has suggested that the four so-called ‘home nations’ – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – compete in a play-off to decide which should represent Great Britain in the finals.

Great Britain, despite its status as the home of modern organised football, has not competed in the Olympics finals since Rome in 1960. They failed to progress beyond the first-round group stage after losing 4-3 to Brazil, drawing 2-2 with Italy and beating Formosa (Taiwan) 3-2.

The last time a team was entered the overall competition was ahead of the 1972 Games in Munich when Britain lost 5-1 on aggregate to Bulgaria in the qualifying competition. The project, by four-way agreement, was run by the (English) Football Association.

Two years later, the FA Council abolished the official distinction between amateur and professional footballers thus preventing further Games participation in the era of Olympic ‘shamateurism.’

London organising leader Lord Sebastian Coe has always insisted it would be inconceivable for the game’s modern rebirth-place not to compete – and the team would benefit from automatic host access into the finals competition whose men's event is for under-23 players.

England is in favour but the other three have objected for fear of prompting doubts over their independent status within football’s world governing body, FIFA.

Cameron raised his possible solution in a Scottish television programme. He said: “Maybe the answer is to have a home tournament, see who wins and that team goes forward, but for the Olympics we've got to settle this so there is a representative team."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also expressed his determination to see men's and women's British football teams playing in London.

Argentina won the gold medal in both Athens in 2004 and Beijing this past summer. Coincidentally, the only player who starred in both tournaments for them is the midfielder Javier Mascherano who plays his club football for top English club Liverpool.

Keywords · David Cameron · Conservative Party · London 2012 · football · England · Northern Ireland · Scotland · Wales · Great Britain · Javier Mascherano

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.