Gareth Bale Forbidden from Playing for Britain

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By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

December 18 - Gareth Bale and any other Welsh players who take part in London 2012 still risk the threat of being suspended, they have been warned.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) have claimed that they will not back down from their long-time position that any of its players who defy them and play for Britain in the Olympics will be banned.

Bale, arguably the best young player in the country, has challenged that position by claiming publicly that he wants to play for a united British team in London.

But the Welsh, along with their counterparts in Northern Ireland and Scotland, fear that if they allow that to happen it will jeopardise their independence to compete in major events like the World Cup and European Championships.

Tottenham Hotspur star Bale has claimed that playing in the Olympics represents his best opportunity of appearing in a major tournament as Wales have not qualified for the final stages of the World Cup since 1958 and have never made it to the European Championships.

But the FAW insist that they will take action against any Welsh player who appears in the Olympics.

"Our stance hasn't changed," said an FAW spokesman.

"And there are no new meetings planned to discuss this.

"The Home Nations signed an agreement last year for English-only players to be selected and nothing has changed since then."

Earlier this week British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan told a Parliamentary Select Committee that he hoped that the British team at London 2012 would consist of players from all the Home Countries. 

But Scottish Football Association (SFA) have also promised to continue to take a hard-line approach.

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is among the Scottish players who has claimed he wants to play for Britain.

"While we acknowledge the comments with regard to Team GB, we can state our position has not changed since we signed up to the agreement with the other Home Associations in May 2009," said a spokesman for the SFA.

"The Scottish FA, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish FA have already agreed that England would participate under the Team GB banner.

"There have been no further discussions since then involving the Home Associations and our reasons for not participating are well known."