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Moynihan backs Ferguson for 2012 Olympics

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jul 2008

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Sebastian Coe’s drive to have Alex Ferguson lead a British football team at the London 2012 Games garnered support on Thursday from British Olympic Association chairman Lord Moynihan.

“Seb Coe has strong views about who should be managing the men’s team and I completely agree with him,” he said.

“It is an excellent idea that should be pursued and I am endorsing Sir Alex Ferguson, although I should also say that should the FA find anyone with a comparable name, I should be equally delighted.”

Lord Coe, London 2012 Organising Committee chairman, revealed last Sunday that he had held talks with the Manchester United manager about leading the team in four years time.

The 66-year-old Scot is expected to stand down from the Old Trafford hotseat in the next three years leaving him available for the job.

But one major stumbling block remains – namely the fear from football associations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that a Great Britain side could compromise their independent status within FIFA, football’s governing body.

For that reason, there will be no Great Britain team, either in the men’s or women’s competition, competing in this year’s Beijing Games.

Moynihan made it clear he was disappointed young athletes would miss out on the experience of competing in China but insisted Britain would be represented on home turf in 2012.

He said: “Of course I am disappointed. We at the BOA would like to see every young athlete who has the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games at the Games. It would be a great opportunity for women’s football to have a strong team in 2012. I’m sorry they are not in Beijing.

“However, I’m not annoyed. I understand the politics of this subject and appreciate that it is a very sensitive subject on which people have very differing views.

“But we will be sending a team in 2012 and we hope everyone in Great Britain will consider themselves eligible for selection. We would be very disappointed if any governing body didn’t provide the opportunity for the youngsters to play their sport.

“Through discussion and engagement we hope there will be full commitment from the four football associations to deliver on that objective. I also think we will do very well and it will be a big event. It will be something that will catch the public mood and support.

“And I do believe that nobody within a governing body of sport wants to see a young talent within their sport denied an opportunity on the ultimate stage.”

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