The FA has appointed Hope Powell and Stuart Pearce as the Head Coaches for Team GB football teams who will compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In June the British Olympic Association (BOA) reached an agreement with The FA for Team GB to return to the pitch in a men’s Olympic football tournament for the first time since the Rome 1960 Games, and compete in the women’s Olympic football tournament for the first time ever.
The FA is the designated National Governing Body for Olympic football within the National Olympic Committee, and these appointments represent the first step towards the tournament which starts in July 2012.
FA Chairman David Bernstein said: "I am delighted for both Hope and Stuart that they will lead us into next summer's Olympic football tournament. With their excellent track record and experience I am convinced we have chosen the best coaches for these positions.
"These are important appointments given the unique nature of Team GB competing at London 2012. It will be a massive opportunity to take football into the Olympic arena, and for a group of players to take part in a truly special tournament on home soil."
Pearce, England Under-21s Head Coach and also coach within Fabio Capello's England senior setup, said: "I am extremely proud to have this opportunity and I'm very much looking forward to getting started.
"I was fortunate to be part of Euro '96, so I know how special it can be to play for your country on home soil at a major tournament. I'm sure this group of players will relish being part of not only a huge tournament in this country, but a unique one competing together and representing the UK."
Powell has been England Women's Head Coach since 1998, leading her side to four successive major finals which included making the final of Euro 2009 in Finland.
Powell was also in charge when England hosted Euro 2005, and that experience is something she is looking to build on: "The attendances at the games during Euro 2005 were a sign of progress for Women's football in this country, and it helped provide a platform for what has happened since then.
"From those finals where the players were playing against the best teams in Europe and in front of huge crowds, there was a real surge of enthusiasm. I think with the exposure and interest in the Olympics in this country we could see a similar impact from the tournament next summer.
"I'm delighted to be in the position to be able to take a team into such an illustrious tournament, I just wish it were starting tomorrow."
The FA’s player evaluation and selection process will begin now with the development of a ‘long list’ of potential players, as identified by the Team GB managers, over the coming months. Players on the long list will be asked to confirm their interest and availability to compete for Team GB, if selected, following discussions with their respective professional clubs and Home Associations.
Consistent with requirements set out in the Olympic Charter, the selection criteria will be entirely non-discriminatory, as players from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other territories which fall under the BOA’s remit as a National Olympic Committee, who meet the approved competitive standard will be eligible for consideration and selection.
As competition draws closer, the long list will be reduced to a short list of players, and an announcement of the two squads will be made in the summer of 2012.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “We welcome the FA’s appointment of Hope Powell and Stuart Pearce – two managers who share experience of competing in major competition on home soil, as well as a great passion to proudly represent Team GB in the Olympic Games.
“Today’s announcement marks another important step on the journey towards Team GB’s participation in the men’s and women’s football competitions for the London 2012 Olympic Games. With this announcement the teams are now becoming an exciting reality as the FA now begins its player evaluation and selection process.
“When Hope leads the Team GB women’s football team out for their first match at the London 2012 Olympic Games, she will be making history. Team GB has never before been represented in the Olympic women’s football competition and we are delighted that she will have the opportunity to do so on home soil in front of our passionate fans.”
Notes to editors
The last time Team GB was represented in the men’s Olympic football competition was the 1960 Games in Rome, beating Taiwan 3-2, drawing 1-1 with Italy and losing 4-3 to Brazil, thereby failing to advance to the medal round. Team GB has never competed in the women’s Olympic football tournament.
Great Britain has won three medals – all gold – in Olympic competition: 1900 Paris, 1908 London and 1912 Stockholm.
For the London 2012 Olympic Games, the men’s football competition will feature 16 teams and the women’s tournament 12 teams. Preliminary round matches will begin on 25 July, two days before the Opening Ceremony of the Games, and conclude on 11 August.
Matches will be played in six venues throughout the United Kingdom:
City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry, England
Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland
Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales
Old Trafford in Manchester, England
St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England
Wembley Stadium in London, England
Medal round matches will be played as follows:
9 August – City of Coventry Stadium, women’s bronze medal match
9 August – Wembley Stadium, women’s gold medal match
10 August – Millennium Stadium, men’s bronze medal match
11 August – Wembley Stadium, men’s gold medal match
The exact dates, times and locations for matches featuring the Team GB men’s and women’s sides have not yet been set.
The men’s team will feature 18 players - 15 of whom will be Under 23 and three ‘open age’ players. The women’s team will also be comprised of 18 players, but there are no age restrictions.
For further information on the London 2012 Olympic football competition please click herewww.london2012.com/football