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Olympics 2020: Why is there no Team GB men's football team at the Tokyo tournament?

17:43 BST 27/07/2021
Ellen White Leah Williamson Team GB Olympics
The women's squad at the Games has some star names and has picked up wins, but there is no male equivalent this year – and here's why

Lucy Bronze and Ellen White have been lighting up Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the women's side claiming a 2-0 win over Chile in their opening game before seeing off hosts Japan in the follow-up.

Yet while Team GB have a women's side competing that includes an array of star names, there is no men's football team.

So how come there is a women's football team and not a men's? Goal takes a look.

Why isn't there a men's Team GB football team at the 2020 Olympics?

There is no men's Team GB at the Olympics because the trio of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have raised fears that releasing their players would put their being recognised as independent Home Nations at risk in the eyes of FIFA.

FIFA have previously stated that it would only accept Team GB's entry to the Olympics if all four home nations were in agreement.

At the London 2012 Olympics, Great Britain named a men's team at an Olympic Games for the first time since 1972 – and the first time ever that there was a women’s side.

The associations from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales then failed to agree on terms for Rio 2016, when neither the men's nor women's football sides were entered.

No discussions about the topic were made for the men's Team GB football team at the 2020 Olympics.

Why is there a women's Team GB football team at the 2020 Olympics?

England's fourth-placed finish at the 2019 Women's World Cup earned them a spot at the Olympics through one of UEFA's three allocated slots – as Team GB.

Europe use competitions such as the men’s UEFA Under-21 Championship and FIFA Women’s World Cup to decide Olympic qualification.

Only male footballers under the age of 23 are allowed to compete at the Olympics - other than three nominated overage players - while there is no age limit for women's football.

Will there be a men's Team GB football team at future Olympics?

While there are no set plans for a men's Team GB football team in the future, Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England has revealed his desires of seeing one at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

He hinted that the potential success of the women's team could pave the way for a Team GB men's team being assembled.

"I would absolutely love to take a men's football team to the Olympic Games," said England. "I think the experiences that the women have had through the home country FAs hopefully will be that positive step and impetus for an open dialogue on men's teams in the future.

"Obviously the strength now that we can see in women's football (means) we'd be very disappointed if, in France in Paris in 2024 and on to Los Angeles in 2028, we weren't fielding competitive teams across all sports but in particular competitive teams in football as well."