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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Smith 'excited' by Olympic team
Scotland manager Walter Smith
Smith thinks a British Olympic team is a good idea
Scotland manager Walter Smith has backed the idea of a British team for the London Olympics in 2012.

Fifa has confirmed that a team will compete and given assurances that it will not affect the separate identities of the four home nations.

"If the worry of how it affects us as single nations is completely knocked away, then a British team is a very exciting notion," Smith told the Sun.

However, the Scottish Football Association are opposed to the idea.

An SFA spokesman said: "We are not currently party to any discussions on this and we have made our views entirely clear about an Olympic team."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says the world governing body has given written guarantees that fielding a host British team will not interfere with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland keeping their individual status.

And Smith said: "It would throw up a lot of problems for whoever selected that team but, overall, I think it would be a good thing for British football."

It can be a mixed team, it can be from just one of the home nations
Fifa president Sepp Blatter

But the SFA spokesman added: "Fifa have said before that this is a matter for the British associations to decide.

"So the position has not changed as far as we are concerned."

Blatter insists a British team will be able to compete at the Games in seven years' time.

He told a media briefing in London: "We have confirmed in writing that they have to provide a Great Britain team for the 2012 Olympics, but the four British associations will not lose the rights and privileges acquired back in 1947.

"They will play with one team, but it is up to them how they do it.

"It can be a mixed team, it can be from just one of the home nations, whatever they want to do."

Britain qualify automatically as Olympic hosts.

But it is unlikely there will be a British Olympic football team beyond 2012, because no united British team plays in the European Under-21 Championships, which act as the qualifying tournament.


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