Blatter pessimistic about future GB football teams
Published : 25 Jul 2012 20:16:59
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has said the prospect of British teams competing at Olympic football tournaments beyond London 2012 is bleak.
Great Britain, as the host nation, qualified men's and women's teams for the football competition at this year's Olympics where the women's side, in the first competitive match of any sport at the Games, beat New Zealand 1-0 in Cardiff on Wednesday.
But both British teams for the 2012 Games emerged only in the face of fierce opposition from football officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all fearful for their status as independent soccer nations.
FIFA President Blatter said he was sympathetic to the desire of the British Olympic Association to field football teams at future Games but warned it would be difficult to achieve in practice.
"This is a wish and a legitimate wish of the British Olympic Association because they want to have a football team," Blatter told Britain's Press Association on Wednesday.
"But this is quite a difficult task I can tell you. The four British associations would have to play a preliminary round because the qualification is the European Under-21 championships.
"Everything is possible but this would need a different approach and you have seen the difficulties they have already had to field a combined team here in London
"So for the football family, and especially the four associations and UEFA (European football's governing body), I don't think it is likely to be done," added Blatter before travelling from London to Cardiff for the women's opener.
Meanwhile Blatter praised the atmosphere in London and confirmed that as an International Olympic Committee member he had voted for the British capital to host the Games.
"From what I have seen in London I have to say the ambience and the Olympic spirit is more tangible than when I was in Beijing -- maybe because Beijing is so huge. I have a good feeling for London and I have been well received by everybody here."
Asked if he had voted for London in 2005, he replied: "You should never disclose your votes.... but I voted for the winner."