FIFA Wants Unified Britain Team for 2012 London Olympics

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By Andrew Warshaw in Paris

March 23 - Britain's new FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce says there is still time to persuade the four national Home Associations to provide players for a unified team at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Northern Irishman begins his four-year term in June when he succeeds England's Geoff Thompson and is prepared to do everything he can to resolve the current impasse over a unified Olympic football team.

The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish remain resolute in their determination not to get involved in the Olympic football tournament for fear of losing their individual status within FIFA.

"They have made it clear that nothing must be done to jeopardise their positions," said Boyce.

"They are very concerned as to what could happen in the future and are adamant that they do not with to take part in a united Olympic team.

"But it's the epitome of many peoples' careers to take part in the Olympics and I will do everything in my power to resolve the situation.

"I don't want to see a fallout.

"Mr Blatter has made it clear that it [taking part in a unified team] would not affect them.

"I have absolutely no doubt he is sincere but he's not going to be around for ever and there is no guarantee that someone else will also make that particular statement."

But, says Boyce, there may be a way through the impasse.

"One of the things that perhaps might be done is that the FIFA Executive Committee, if asked to do so, put in writing that should a player be selected for the Olympic team, it would not in any way jeopardise the future status of the four Associations.

"I would be quite happy to put that forward if the three Associations feel it is a way round the problem."