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Ferguson dismisses Olympic role

Lord Coe has held 2012 talks with Ferguson
Lord Coe has held 2012 talks with Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson says he would not be interested in managing a Great Britain football team should one take part at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Manchester United boss did speak to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and 2012 chief Lord Coe about the job.

But he plans to retire within three years and told Inside United magazine: "I won't turn to international management. After here, I'm finished."

British Olympic bosses want to enter a team in 2012 despite major opposition.

The national governing bodies for football in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to the plan and last year Ferguson said he thought it was unlikely that a British team would be take part.


"I'm not sure they would allow it anyway, because countries have their own identity," he said.

Ferguson, who has been United manager since 1986, will be 70 in 2012.

If there was a combined British Olympic football team in London, it would be the first since 1972, when Britain failed to qualify.

The last time a Great Britain side played at the Olympics itself was in 1960.

One of the main reasons for a team not having featured in the Olympics since then is the fear it may threaten the status of the individual teams of the four home nations.

The national team comes first and at the moment we are keen to keep our nationality intact

Scotland boss George Burley

With this in mind, the prime minister spoke to Sepp Blatter, the president of football's governing body Fifa, about the prospect of a British team in 2012.

Blatter has assured the associations that a one-off British team would not affect the status of the home nations but opposition to the plan remains very strong.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond believes the idea is a "massive own goal" and that Brown's enthusiasm for it shows he is "out of touch with Scotland".

Scotland manager George Burley insisted the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was against the idea.

"It's been black and white from day one with the SFA," said Burley.

"The national team comes first and at the moment we are keen to keep our nationality intact.

"We have to have a national Scottish team and we can't put that in jeopardy so there has been no change."

Blatter has said it might be better to enter a team featuring players only from England.

Despite the opposition of the associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has proposed a compromise, appealing to them not to stand in the way of any player wishing to take part in the 2012 Games.

"I do not want to see 50 or so young people denied the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of competing in a home Olympics," said Burnham.

"I believe this compromise respects the autonomy of each individual FA, but leaves it to the personal decision of young people whether to be involved."

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see also
Brown pays tribute to GB success
24 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008
Salmond rejects UK football team
25 Aug 08 |  Scotland
Ferguson not keen on London role
25 Jul 08 |  Football
Blatter against British 2012 team
09 Mar 08 |  Football
Government backs GB football team
04 Mar 08 |  Football
Home nations dispute GB 2012 team
30 Oct 07 |  Football
GB football team to enter Games
30 Sep 06 |  Football
Coe hopeful on GB football team
12 Dec 05 |  Internationals
Fifa green light for 2012 GB team
01 Sep 05 |  Football
Premier League backs 2012 GB team
20 Jul 05 |  Olympics 2012
FA wants GB team in 2012 Olympics
06 Jul 05 |  Olympics 2012

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