The British Olympic Association (BOA) angered Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Tuesday by trumpeting an “historic agreement” for Britain to field a united soccer team at next year’s London Games after a 52-year absence.
The three home associations, determined to safeguard their own national identities in world soccer, issued a joint statement rejecting what the BOA had hours earlier called a “landmark” announcement.
In it, they repeated a collective opposition to their players joining any Team GB (Great Britain).
“We cannot support nor formally endorse the approach that has been proposed by the Football Association,” the joint statement said.
“We have stressed this in communications to them and are disappointed that this has been ignored in the media release,” it said. “No discussions took place with any of us, far less historic agreement been reached, prior to the statement from the BOA being released.”
The BOA, the national Olympic Committee for Britain and Northern Ireland, had said in its statement that men’s and women’s soccer teams would be selected and managed by the English FA.
“Players from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other territories which fall under the BOA’s remit as an NOC [-National Olympic Committee], who meet the approved competitive standard will be eligible for consideration and selection,” it added.
A spokesman for the Welsh FA said separately that the BOA statement appeared to be “just a rehashing of old news and bits and pieces” and came “completely out of the blue.”
“There is no new agreement signed or any deals reached,” Ceri Stennett said. “The status quo remains the same.”
The debate over the participation of players from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in a British team has simmered since the Games were awarded to London in 2005.
The three countries compete with their own teams at international level, but cannot at the Olympics, where only Britain is represented.
The three associations fear they will lose their independent status within soccer’s world governing body FIFA if they allow their players to take part, despite their membership being enshrined in FIFA’s statutes.
The BOA said the FA had consulted with the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland associations to develop the selection criteria and timeline.
“It has been a long, six-year journey to get to this point, with very real considerations from the Home Nations that first had to be recognized, respected and resolved,” BOA chief executive Andy Hunt said.
“We absolutely respect the participation of the Home Nations as individual nations at all other football events,” he added. “I want to express my appreciation to all four Football Associations for their recognition of just how meaningful it will be for Team GB to compete in football in London 2012.”
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan suggested in an interview on the SFA Web site on Monday that the BOA’s desire to present a united team might have more to do with selling tickets.
The second round of British ticket sales for London 2012 starts tomorrow, with 1.7 million of the remaining 2.3 million tickets on offer being for the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments.
Some of those matches will be held in Cardiff and Glasgow, where sales have reportedly been slow given the likely absence of home-grown players.
“I guess Andy [Hunt] is under a great deal of pressure from the London Olympic Games Organising Committee and the IOC to get tickets on sale for the football events,” Regan said.
Britain last competed with a men’s soccer team at Rome in 1960 and won gold medals in 1900, 1908 and 1912. A British women’s team has never taken part in an Olympic soccer tournament.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
MONEY MATTERS: While COVID-19 played a major role in the decision, the CTBA also found it hard to secure sponsorship, and ticket sales would have been affected The Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a funding shortfall, the CTBA said yesterday. This was the first time that the tournament, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 300-level competition, has been canceled since it began in 1980. The Taipei Open has been held annually since 1980. The tournament was to be played at the Taipei Arena from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6, with total prize money of US$500,000. The CTBA said that it was deeply concerned about whether the Taipei Open would proceed as scheduled after the BWF announced changes