The GB team entered a women’s team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games football tournament, but what about a men’s team?
Hege Riise’s women’s team were drawn alongside Chile, Japan and Canada in the group stage.
However, there will be no men’s team at the games.
This is due to a complex history that began when football was first introduced to the Olympics in 1900.
As the original nations all had – and still have – their own separate FAs, it has always been difficult to organize a common team.
For the first event in 1900, many countries had club teams representing them and that is what GB chose to do – with Upton Park FC winning the very first gold medal in Paris.
The GB team did not sign up in 1904, but then came up with an all-English team under the name “Great Britain” and won gold in 1908 and 1912.
World War I was interrupted, but the Olympics returned in 1920 and Britain was eliminated in the first round by Norway.
Disputes arose as to whether the competition should remain amateurish or become a true professional tournament, which led to the entry of any British team in 1924 or 1928.
A deal was made to keep him amateur and the tournament returned again in 1936, with Great Britain being knocked out by Poland in the quarter-finals.
After World War II, Britain entered a team for every Olympic football tournament between 1948 and 1972.
He remained based on the English amateur football team and therefore struggled to compete as the professional game advanced in England.
Other nations had stronger amateur teams and less priority given to their professional teams at this point, so Britain failed to even qualify in 1964, 1968 or 1972.
In 1974, the FA stopped recognizing a difference between professional and amateur footballers, abolished the England amateur team and stopped participating in the Olympics.
That didn’t change until London 2012, when the Olympics had become an Under-23 competition (with three older players accepted) for professional players.
As the host, the GB team were automatically guaranteed a place and the British Olympic Association tried to organize a joint effort.
Now, however, there was a new problem.
The federations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland feared this would mean they would have to participate in all competitions as a joint team in the future, threatening their special independent status from FIFA by as host nations.
Ultimately, the convoluted process resulted in the 2012 squad consisting of just 13 English players and five Welsh players.
Stuart Pearce was appointed manager and Ryan Giggs was team captain as one of the over-aged players.
Personalities like Daniel Sturridge, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Micah Richards and Jack Butland were also present.
After all this turmoil, Team GB were knocked out in the quarterfinals by South Korea on penalties.
The federations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland opposed a suggestion to keep the men’s team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and this opposition continued until the 2020 games – d ‘where the reason why no men’s team from the GB team will travel to Tokyo.
However, they have agreed to send a women’s team, which will look to improve on their only previous result – reaching a quarter-final in London 2012.
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