London 2012: Stuart Pearce hopes Welsh back Olympic Team GB

 

Coach Stuart Pearce hopes his Team GB football side will not be booed by Welsh fans who are against a British Olympic team at London 2012.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) opposes Team GB, fearing an all-British squad could threaten its independence with world governing body Fifa.

Some Welsh fans protested against Welsh players competing for Team GB in last November's friendly win over Norway.

Team GB's Group A Olympic 2012 fixtures

  • 26 July: v Senegal at Old Trafford, Manchester
  • 29 July: v United Arab Emirates at Wembley, London
  • 1 August: v Uruguay at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

"We hope that everyone gets behind this team," said Pearce.

The FAW, along with the Scottish and Northern Irish associations, does not want a Team GB despite reassurances from Fifa that supporting the team poses no threat to their future as separate international entities.

The Welsh FA, though, has said it would not stop Welsh players from taking part and five Welshmen - including three past and present Wales captains - have been selected for Pearce's 18-man squad.

Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale was expected to be included but he withdrew with a back injury.

Ryan Giggs, who retired from international duty in 2007, Craig Bellamy, Joe Allen, Neil Taylor and current skipper Aaron Ramsey will feature in a competition that starts against Senegal at Old Trafford on 26 July.

Team GB will play the United Arab Emirates at Wembley before their final Group A game against Uruguay in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 1 August - and Pearce does not want an adverse reaction in the Welsh capital.

"I don't think I have ever seen an Olympic Games where the home team has been booed, and I would hate that to be us," he said.

Welshman in Team GB

Joe Allen

Age: 22. Wales caps, goals: 8, 0

Craig Bellamy

Age: 32. Caps, goals: 69, 19

Ryan Giggs

Age: 38. Caps, goals: 64, 12

Aaron Ramsey

Age: 21. Caps, goals: 21, 5

Neil Taylor

Age: 23. Caps, goals: 9, 0

"We have bought into the Olympic ideal and I've given players from every nation due diligence, which has ruled out everything bar footballing ability.

"There is some real quality to come in from Wales and I'm absolutely delighted with their reaction that they want to be involved.

"They have shown me they want to be part of this and are very excited by it.

"It can only benefit the players and if it benefits the players it will benefit Wales.

"I think Wales have got a fantastic clutch of players going forward. I don't see a negative anywhere across the board."

Pearce insists he has been in regular contact with Wales manager Chris Coleman as he selected a squad to represent Great Britain in the football competition for the first time since the 1960 Olympics, but the FAW has made no comment since four current Welsh players were selected.

The Olympic football final at Wembley on 11 August is just four days before Wales' final 2014 World Cup qualifying warm-up against Bosnia in Llanelli on 15 August and seven days before the opening day of the Premier League season.