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England football team gets go-ahead to play at London 2012


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The four home nations have thrashed out a deal that would allow an England team represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics. A joint letter from the four associations was sent to Fifa this morning saying Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would have no involvement in the Olympic tournament, but would not prevent an England team from doing so. The deal will have to be ratified by Fifa before it is officially confirmed.

Last-ditch talks between the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations yesterday led to a breakthrough in the long-running saga. A source said: "All four associations have signed a letter of intent and that has gone off to Fifa. The letter says that we, the three home nations other than England, have not changed our stance but as England are hosting the Games we believe it is possible for them to play under their own auspices."

Fifa had set a deadline of the end of the month for the four home nations to come to an agreement over Olympic representation. Fifa president Sepp Blatter had made it clear he would accept an English side representing Britain, but had warned the other three associations from becoming involved in case it threatened their separate status in future.

The deal should see the end of a bitter dispute over the Olympic football teams that has raged since 2005 when London won the right to host the Games.

The turning point came this week when the Scottish board softened their stance against any move to allow an Olympic team after testing the water internationally. The feedback was that there was a danger of their intransigence causing them damage in international football circles.


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