Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fifa says Team GB 'poses no risk'

Scotland v Norway

A British Olympic football team would not jeopardise the international status of the home nations, it is claimed.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has gained assurances from Fifa that a one-off under-23 squad in 2012 would not impact on the home teams' standings.

The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all oppose a Great Britain team.

First Minister Alex Salmond described Fifa's assurances over a Team GB in 2012 as "daft".

However Mr Murphy said it was for football people to decide but added that the SFA said it still saw the idea as a threat.

The Scottish secretary told BBC Scotland he had been seeking assurances over the possibility of a GB international team taking part in the 2012 London Olympics.

He said: "I'm a football fan, I'm a Scotland fan, as well as being the secretary of state and I share the concerns that many people had about the impact it might have on the Scottish national team.

At some point, there is a real danger that a precedent of a Team GB will come back and threaten our status
SFA spokesman

"That's why I met Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of Fifa, yesterday and told him about my concerns and the concerns that many Scots have.

"He confirmed that Fifa, of course who regulate football, that the executive will agree that this one-off under-23 tournament could take place and it will not jeopardise the status of any of the home nations and I think that's very welcome news."

Concerns have been raised that a combined British team could affect the status of individual nations within football's governing body Fifa.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, a member of the Scottish Parliament's football team, raised comments made by Fifa president Sepp Blatter in March that a GB team would put into question the privileges that the British associations have been given by the world body.

Mr McMillan said: "This is not a guarantee that the independence of the SFA and the other three national associations in the UK will not be threatened by a single UK football Olympic team.

"It is not in the gift of officials but all members of Fifa who could take away the SFA's independence."

Tournament call

An SFA spokesman also stressed that Fifa is an organisation made up of its members and it was their views which were important.

He added: "We await with interest the outcome of Fifa's deliberations next month but we must be clear on this.

"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.

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Salmond backs SFA Olympics stance

"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."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown supports the idea of a Team GB and last week Tory leader David Cameron suggested a 2012 London Olympics team could be decided by playing a home nations tournament.

Alex Salmond however rejected Fifa's viewpoint.

He 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."

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SEE ALSO
Wales against Team GB Olympic bid
12 Nov 08 |  League of Wales
Olympic football play-offs call
09 Nov 08 |  Scotland
Call for Scottish Olympics team
24 Aug 08 |  Scotland
Brown pays tribute to GB success
24 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008

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