Do the people of Norfolk think we should have British football team at the Olympics?

A football team representing Great Britain will be participating at the 2012 London Olympics – but this team could be made up of largely English players after the decision to enter a British team divided the four nations.

The Football Association for Wales, and its Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts, fear that endorsing the team would prompt other nations to demand that the four home nations should always play as a combined team.

But the FAW has said that any decision to accept an invitation to play will be left to individual players.

Fifa has given numerous assurances that participating in a GB Olympic team would not endanger their independence and England has given the team its full backing.

The Football Association will be responsible for selecting the squad and many players have already expressed interest in playing.


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David Beckham has spoken openly about how he is keen to be selected as one of the three over-aged players in the Under-23 squad, which will be managed by former England left-back Stuart Pearce.

Wales' Gareth Bale has also voiced his desire to play at the Olympics and caused a stir in October when he was photographed posing in a GB supporters' shirt.

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The last time Team GB was represented in the men's Olympic football competition was the 1960 Games in Rome, when they beat Taiwan, drew with Italy, lost to Brazil and failed to advance to the medal round.

Team GB has never competed in a women's Olympic competition.

A long list of 'eligible' players is set to be published and the British Olympic Association will name its 550-strong Olympic team, including men's and women's football teams of 18 players plus four reserves, by July 8.

Pearce said: 'I am not going into this job looking to only select English players. All the home nations should come forward and put their players up for selection.

'I think the British public will get behind it. The fact the tournament's on these shores will give it a really big kick. They've not hidden the tournament away in small venues – our matches are at Manchester, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium, which are fantastic venues.

'I think there will be a real momentum growing, not just in football but in the Olympics. I think this nation is fantastically privileged to have this sporting event.'

A shortlist of players will be published in spring followed by the final squad by July 8.

The men's team will play their three group fixtures in Manchester, London and Cardiff. Hope Powell's women will play their first two group matches in Cardiff and the third in London.

Powell, head coach of England women since 1998, said: 'The fact that we are on home soil with the opportunity to play at Wembley, for women's football is a fantastic honour. It will really help us to raise the profile of women's football.'

Tickets for the men's Olympic football tournament go on sale today, while the draw takes place on April 24. The events were previously on sale as part of the original Olympic ballot – but people will now be able to apply for specific matches.

'The prospect of Team GB taking part in the Games has captured the imagination of the public,' said Debbie Jevans, director of sport for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

'With teams like Spain and Brazil already qualified and fantastic venues across the country, the Olympic football tournaments promise to be a great family day out at the Olympic Games next summer.'

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