Coe wants Ferguson to coach GB team

May 14, 2008

Lord Coe has gone public with his backing for Sir Alex Ferguson to manage the Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics.

Coe, the chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, confirmed holding informal discussions with the Manchester United boss but did not divulge whether the Scot was interested in the post.

'I would love to see Alec coach the team,' Coe said on Sky Sports.

'I can't think of anybody that frankly (more) deserves at the end of a stunning career to be in charge of young players here.

He added: 'I've spoken to Alex.

'We know each other. We're good friends.'

Chelsea fan Coe's bid to land Ferguson first came to light two months ago, at which time United expressed a relaxed attitude about the approach.

Ferguson was thought to be intrigued by the offer but reluctant to accept were it to interfere with his duties at Old Trafford.

The concept of a British team, which last entered the Olympic qualifying tournament with an amateur side in 1972, is controversial.

Both the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales are opposed to it, with the former indicating they will attempt to block Scottish players from being picked to play.

One of the reasons for their stance is the fear FIFA could strip the home nations of their special status, which guarantees each nation voting rights within the organisation.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter initially claimed this would not be the case, but more recently said a British team should consist exclusively of English players.

Coe insisted the door would remain 'open' should the Scottish and Welsh FAs relax their stances.

He said: 'I clearly want the best players - wherever they come from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England - to be there.

'But I also recognise it is an issue for the individual football associations and the door is open.'

The venues for the football tournament are currently limited to England, with Old Trafford, St James' Park, Villa Park and Wembley all to host matches.

Coe said he would 'love' to include Glasgow's Hampden Park and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on the schedule.

But he revealed he would not lobby the Scottish and Welsh associations to change their minds, adding: 'I'm not going to get sleepless nights over it.'