Team Great Britain fielded a soccer team at the 2012 London Olympics for the first time since 1972 in honor of the capital city hosting the games. It was an interesting experiment in the modern era of world soccer, but it was also a messy affair.
All but five players came from England, and the five players who weren’t English were Welsh. That left both Scotland and Northern Ireland unrepresented in team Great Britain, and it’s safe to say that was a sticking point going forward.
It was also hard not to see the popularity of fielding a team in those games. However, there won’t be a repeat of that feat during the 2016 Rio games, according to a report by Pro Soccer Talk.
The report indicated that Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland were all against a united team for the tournament. But why would they be against it?
Many in the FA’s of each of the other three nations believe their independence in FIFA for other tournaments would be in doubt if this were to be a unified team going forward.
There are many other issues at play, and many center around how things have been handled by the English FA.
“I am absolutely gutted with the English FA – very, very disappointed,” said Wales FA president Llyod Hughes, via The Guardian in March. “If they want to work with us they have to be more open with us and they don’t seem to be keeping to agreements. I’m livid about it.
“As far as the Olympics is concerned it was not long ago that they said London 2012 was just a one-off. Now it appears they have decided on their own to enter a team without discussing it with us.”
Lack of communication and team selection were always going to be tricky things to get over considering the four very different needs of the FA’s involved.
Team GB won their group in the 2012 London Olympic games, but were knocked out by South Korea in the quarterfinals thanks to penalty kicks.
It may be the last memory those around for the games have of Team GB, because it appears it will be a long time, if ever, before we see another set up like that one.