British Olympics chiefs are reportedly facing strong resistance to their efforts to reintroduce a Great Britain football team at Tokyo 2020. Team GB entered men's and women's sides into the football competition for London 2012 — but the associations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all opposed to revisiting the idea.
Britain failed to field either a men's or women's team in Rio, and Bill Sweeney, the British Olympic Association chief executive, has confirmed that meetings would be held with the respective FAs about the proposal.
The contentious issue has been reignited by Sam Allardyce, the England manager, who recently spoke out in favour of entering a combined team in Tokyo in four years' time. Allardyce's remarks led to hopes that the home national associations would throw their support behind the idea.
However, that has seemingly failed to materialise, with three of the four associations showing no desire to budge on the issue. The associations fear they could lose their independent status with Fifa, world football's governing body, if they chose to enter a joint team at the Olympics.
"Our position is well known," a spokesman for the Scottish FA said, according to The Times. "We have always said that anybody who wants to play in Team GB is more than welcome to do that."
He added: "We would not stand in anybody's way. But the view of the fans is well known. The potential threat to independent status in the eyes of Fifa remains just that, a threat. The independent status of the home associations has to be sacrosanct; it has to be protected."
The Scottish FA's stance has been mirrored by their Irish counterparts, too. "Our position remains that the Irish Football Association would not be in favour of sending players to a GB Olympic team," a spokesman said. "This is to protect our independent status within Fifa."