Why is there no Team GB men’s football team but a women’s football team?

THE TOKYO OLYMPICS will see Great Britain field a women’s football team this summer, but there will be NO men’s side.

Hege Riise, the Team GB head coach, named an 18-person squad for the games set to be held in Japan between July 23 and August 8.

Team GB's women were the first Brits to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as they beat Chile 2-0 in their football opener


Team GB’s women were the first Brits to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as they beat Chile 2-0 in their football opener

Team GB will take on Japan, Canada and Chile in the group stage.

But for the second Olympic Games running, there be NO men’s team playing for GB.

Why is there no Great Britain men’s football team at the Olympics?

When London won the rights to hold the Olympics in 2012, Great Britain immediately began plans to enter a men’s team for the games.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FA, however, expressed doubts over taking part over fears they would lose their Home Nations status which had been established by Fifa.

Fifa president at the time Sepp Blatter assured all four nations that their individuality would not be lost, despite combining to create Team GB for the Olympics.

A compromise was reached and only English and Welsh players took part for Team GB in London.

Plans were put forward for a team to be created for the Rio Olympics in 2016, but they were once again rejected by the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations.

And subsequently, no efforts were made for a men’s team to enter the Tokyo games.

Ryan Giggs captained the men's Team GB side at the 2012 Olympics


Ryan Giggs captained the men’s Team GB side at the 2012 OlympicsCredit: PA:Press Association

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But Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England says that potential success from the women’s team may spark up a revival for the men’s side.

He said: “I would absolutely love to take a men’s football team to the Olympic Games.

“I think the experiences that the women have had through the home country FAs hopefully will be that positive step and impetus for an open dialogue on men’s teams in the future.

“Obviously the strength now that we can see in women’s football (means) we’d be very disappointed if, in France in Paris in 2024 and on to Los Angeles in 2028, we weren’t fielding competitive teams across all sports but in particular competitive teams in football as well.”

However, even if the four football associations had agreed to a Team GB men’s side, they would not have qualified for the Olympics this year.

The women qualified for the Olympic Games by virtue of England’s run to the semi-final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

However, qualification for the men’s tournament was decided by performance in the 2019 Under-21 European Championship.

And in that tournament, England failed to get out of the group stage after being beaten by France and Romania.

As a result of their runs to the semi-finals of that competition, France, Romania, Germany and Spain are Uefa’s representatives at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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