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Can't Wait to Follow England's Women's Footballers at the Rio Olympics?

Afterstorming run to the semi final and ultimate 3rd place finish at the, I can't wait to see how they get on at theAlthough hang on, it won't be England, it'll be aside - still, I can't wait, they should be medal contenders...

After England's storming run to the semi final and ultimate 3rd place finish at the 2015 Women's World Cup, I can't wait to see how they get on at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Although hang on, it won't be England, it'll be a Team GB side - still, I can't wait, they should be medal contenders...

Except they won't be.

They won't be medal contenders, because they won't be taking part at all, despite having qualified.

Yes, that 3rd place finish, which catapulted public awareness of the England Women's team, qualified Team GB for Rio, and even though Team GB finished 3rd in the overall medal table at the 2012 Olympics, there will be no GB footballers in Rio.

"Why not?" you may well ask.

Oh blimey, this one goes back a bit!

It's down to the fact that there isn't a regular GB team - the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland play individually at international level, often with bitter competition, and compete as those individual nations to qualify for events like the World Cup, because each country has its' own Football Association (FA) in the nest of vipers that is FIFA.

Hence it was England that got the semi final in the World Cup in Canada, not GB - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had tried, and failed, to qualify.

When it comes to the Olympics, athletes from these countries all compete under the Team GB banner, and a GB team could have players from any of the countries.

So, what's the problem?

Well, the problem is a big one, according to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Those Football Associations are worried that if they agree to a Team GB entering, it will be the top of a slippery slope with FIFA ending up stripping the individual country entries for the World Cup, despite FIFA saying otherwise.

For the 2012 Olympics, held in London, the football bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agreed to a Team GB, but only on the clear understanding it was a one off for the London Olympics.

After London 2012, they reverted back the their original stance of not agreeing to a Team GB. Without the agreement of all 4 nations, the Team GB football simply cannot happen, and in March, the International Olympic Committee was told that there wouldn't be any entry from Team GB in the football, men or women.

Now, it has to said, in the men's game this is less of an issue, where the Olympics is viewed as way down the food chain, but in the women's game it's huge! The Olympics is right up there with the World Cup on importance.

There will only be 3 teams from Europe in Rio. One of them would have been Team GB, but their place has now gone to France. Good luck trying to get *that* place back!

It's not even as if there'll be any trying either, because it's not as if the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish saw the error of their ways and changed their minds - they didn't, and too late now even if they did!

So, while the finalists from the Canada World Cup, Japan and USA will be lacing up their boots for the Olympics in Rio, as will the Germans and the French amongst others, the players who should have been playing for Team GB will be watching on TV.

Thanks very much Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland! It was Laura Bassett's own goal with virtually the last kick of the semi final that sent England crashing out of the World Cup, but it's the crusty old sports administrators that have sent Team GB crashing out of the Olympics without even kicking a ball.

Opportunity missed. Again.

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