Robertson: Sad if no GB football at Rio
Sport minister Hugh Robertson has hailed GB's participation in the Olympic football competitions
Sports minister Hugh Robertson feels it would be "very sad" if an agreement could not be reached to enter Great Britain teams into the Olympic football tournament at Rio 2016.
Great Britain's participation in the London Olympics was seen as a one-off, due to concerns within some home nations of the impact a unified team could have on their individual statuses.
The Football Association's general secretary, Alex Horne, has conceded that a men's British football team will not compete at Rio and he said it was "unlikely" a women's team would be there.
Robertson said: "The GB experiment in football was a fantastic thing in London 2012. You talk to the BOA (British Olympic Association) of the impact of having football around the village, for a sport that doesn't always get the best coverage it was universally positive.
"The impact of having people like Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy around the village was great for other athletes and they loved it.
"Clearly the football competition was great for the GB women too.
"I just hope football politics don't get in the way of this happening again. (If they do) it would be very sad because they definitely added something."
For women's football, the Olympic Games remains the pinnacle and Hope Powell, coach of the 2012 team, expressed her desire for the concept to continue. Powell was encouraged by the support her team enjoyed during the London Games, which peaked with a 70,000-crowd for their final group game against Brazil at Wembley.
The women's team were beaten in the quarter-finals by Canada, while the men's team lost on penalties to South Korea at the same stage.
But Horne said: "Within the men's game, it's not going to happen again. On the women's side I'm going to say it's unlikely, for the same reason. But you can understand why it's more compelling. Olympic football for women is the pinnacle."
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