Simmons keen for Team GB to play in Rio

PA Sport
Kelly Simmons is exploring the possibility of GB's women's football team competing in Rio
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Kelly Simmons is exploring the possibility of GB's women's football team competing in Rio

Kelly Simmons, the Football Association's head of national game, hopes to find a way for the British women's team to compete at the Rio Olympics - a move Team GB star Steph Houghton is fully behind.

Head coach Hope Powell has been vocal in her calls for the unified team to continue after the overriding success of London 2012. However, FA general secretary Alex Horne on Tuesday dashed such talk when he said it was "unlikely" that the concept of a unified Team GB would be resurrected in 2016.

"It is difficult and I think our general secretary has said it will be challenging," Simmons said. "There is, however, a compelling case, as he said, for looking at women's football because it gives it a platform it often doesn't get - both globally and domestic."

She added: "But it isn't just an FA decision so we would need to talk to the home nations, FIFA, the BOA - there would be a number of stakeholders involved in the decision.

"I am sure for anybody, including here [at the FA], if there was a way to make it happen, we would make it happen.

"But somehow we've got to qualify and that's tough. That means coming in the top three in Europe through the World Cup and that's tough as well.

"So there are a number of factors before we can come to a decision, but there is no doubt, when you look at what happened here with the Olympics, it was a huge opportunity for the women's game."

Houghton was the star of the summer, finding the net in each of the British team's three group games before they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Canada.

The midfielder now returns to club action with Arsenal in the FA Women's Super League, but would love to don the Team GB kit again in Brazil.

"This summer's Olympics was unreal - a massive experience and it was brilliant to be part of Team GB," she said. "If anybody asked if I want to be part of Rio and it was possible, I would definitely say yes."

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