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Page last updated at 07:22 GMT, Thursday, 13 January 2011

FAW set to dash Gareth Bale's Olympic hopes

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is being touted as one of the best current players in the world

Wales winger Gareth Bale's hopes of playing for a Great Britain side at the 2012 London Olympics look set to be dashed.

The Tottenham star has reportedly expressed his interest in playing for Team GB.

But the Football Association of Wales maintains Welsh players will not be allowed to play for Great Britain.

"Our position on this has not changed and is unlikely to change," said FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford.

"There is no drive for us to change our position."

The FAW, along with the associations of Scotland and Northern Ireland, fear their independent status within world governing body FIFA could be jeopardised if they participate, so the English FA have agreed to represent the host nation at the Games.

The British Olympic Association insist, however, it would be discriminatory if the FA refuse to select players from any of the other home nations.

"We haven't been in a situation where anybody has been approached [by a player wanting to feature at the Olympics]," added Ford.

"Let's take one step at a time and if we get to that we will have the discussion at that time."

Wales have not qualified for a major tournament since 1958, and the attraction for a player such as 21-year-old Bale to play in the Olympics is evident.

And new Wales boss Gary Speed acknowledges the situation.

"The fact he [Bale] has said that shows me how much drive and determination he has to achieve," said Speed, who was appointed last month.

"He wants to play on the biggest stage and that is understandable. But it's a personal thing if that is what he said.

"I haven't discussed the details with Jonathan at all and will cross that bridge when we come to it."

New Wales era excites Speed

Speed understands why players might want to play at the London Games but believes their future prospects of participating in major tournaments with Wales are strong anyway.

His hopes of taking Wales to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine look slim as he takes over a team that has so far lost all three of their qualifiers, but he feels he has a good nucleus of young players.

But he added: "That is my goal, to qualify for a major tournament, as it has been for many managers before me.

"If you look at the crop of players we have got, we have got as a good a chance now as we have had for many years."



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see also
New Wales era excites Speed
13 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Pearce lined up to coach Team GB
12 Jan 11 |  Olympics
Speed open to Home Nations return
12 Jan 11 |  Welsh
FAW in Vauxhall sponsorship deal
12 Jan 11 |  Welsh


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