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GB football team gets FIFA go ahead for 2020 Olympics

Team GB fielded a team at London 2012, but not Rio 2016. Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/Press Association Images

FIFA has given the green light for Great Britain to field football teams at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the chief executive of the English Football Association, Martin Glenn, has said.

Team GB fielded Olympic football teams at London 2012 for the first time in more than five decades, but neither a women's nor men's side were entered into the Rio Olympics 2016.

However, Glenn has said: "The big fear in the past was that if we did it we would jeopardise our independent country status. But that was sorted out under [former FIFA president Sepp] Blatter actually and [new president] Gianni Infantino has reinforced it.

"So that's not the issue. The issue is the individual interests of each home nation.

"There's a Great Britain interest, of which we're all part, but does it suit the individual interest of [each] home nation? And that's what we're going to work through."

Despite the English FA having been keen to see Team GB represented in the football tournament at the Rio Olympics this summer, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FAs failed to give consent amid longstanding concerns that doing so could jeopardise their status as independent nations within the sport.

But the prospect of Team GB competing in the Olympic football tournament at Tokyo 2020 looks more likely after the home nations held talks on the issue before the UEFA congress in Athens on Wednesday.

The chairmen and chief executives of the four British football associations met for what new Football Association chairman Greg Clarke described as "four equal countries having a discussion."

However, Patrick Nelson, chief executive of the Irish FA, said in The Times: "We want to play as Northern Ireland, not Great Britain. We allowed our players to take part in 2012 but we agreed that was because London was the host city."

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan added: "We wouldn't stand in the way of any of our players if they wanted to play in an Olympic team but we wouldn't endorse a British team."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.