• London 2012 - Football

Smith urges FA to find Rio resolution

ESPN staff
August 14, 2012
Kelly Smith (R) says the FA must build on the success of London 2012 © Getty Images

England and Team GB striker Kelly Smith has urged the Football Association to find a way for Team GB to compete at Rio 2016.

More than 70,000 - a record for British women's football - saw the host nation beat Brazil 1-0 at Wembley as the women captured the imagination during their Olympic debut.

But the FA has said Team GB women are unlikely to have the chance to compete at the next Olympics because qualification can only come from the 2015 Women's World Cup, in which the home nations compete separately.

Unifying the home nations for World Cup qualifying remains a political tension and could spell the end of the chance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete individually in the future.

Manager Hope Powell has expressed her desire to take a team to Brazil in four years, and Smith admits it will be a missed opportunity if they do not build on the success of London 2012.

"We got a tremendous amount of exposure," Smith told the BBC. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To play in [front of] record crowds, to get people to come out and support women's football was fantastic.

"Hopefully now we can build on the momentum of that and see more crowds at women's football. I've played in four European Championships and two World Cups, so to add this now to my playing career, it's up there.

"I've played in America for a number of years and the Americans view that [the Olympic experience] as the ultimate, so why can't we have a GB team? I'm praying that in 2016 in Brazil there is a women's team."

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