Welsh FA boss calls for quick decision on women's Team GB side at 2020 Olympics

07 April 2017 04:40

A decision over whether a women's Team GB side will feature at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 should be taken "within six months", according to Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford.

Creating a Team GB football side at the Olympics has been a thorny issue with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales fearful that it could harm their independent status in world football.

Men's and women's sides competed under the GB banner at the 2012 Olympics in London, with Aaron Ramsey, Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy among the Wales contingent.

Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh FAs saw that as a one-off for a home Games, and their subsequent protests saw plans to compete at Rio 2016 scrapped.

But representatives from the four British associations met to discuss the topic at this week's UEFA Congress in Helsinki.

"I think from a football merit basis, we can see the merits more than we did in the past," Ford told Press Association Sport.

"For the women, I think most people would understand that allowing our players, coaches and managers the experience of going to major tournaments, including the Olympic Games, is worthy of consideration.

"I think people are open and are discussing it, but we will see where the conversation takes us.

"But in order to qualify for 2020, timing is important, so I would anticipate a decision within the next six months."

Wales men's national team manager Chris Coleman - who guided the country into the last four of the 2016 European Championships last summer - has previously stated his opposition to a Great Britain team playing at the Olympics.

And many Wales football fans have been quick to voice their opposition on social media, believing the idea could threaten the country's participation in international tournaments.

However, Ford stressed: "We still have a long way to go to be honest and when those discussions are finalised, hopefully we will be back with some news.

"It is with a view to a women's team.

"I think everyone has been very clear that from a men's perspective it is a scratch team, it is a team that is age-capped bar for a few players and that isn't part of the Olympic spirit.

"In terms of the men's football calendar, it really doesn't galvanise the men in quite the same way as the European Championships or the World Cup.

"We didn't block in 2012, from a men's football perspective we want to play under a Welsh umbrella, nothing has changed on that front.

"We have got to make sure our messaging is correct and we will make sure discussions are had so we are not seen to be in a bit of a hypocritical position.

"There are some assurances we would be seeking, but doing it for the right reasons and football reasons, is the key.

"We don't want to take away from the notion that Welsh teams will be playing for Wales in the future."

Source: PA