By Andrew Warshaw

Wembley Stadium_illuminatedDecember 14 - Hundreds of professional footballers from across Britain are being invited to state in writing whether or not they would be prepared to take part in Team GB at the London Olympics next year.

The English Football Association confirmed today that letters are being sent out to players of all age groups seeking information about who might be available next summer.

Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrators, along with leading club managers, have long opposed their players being part of any unified team for fear of losing their individual identity and status within FIFA.

But many non-English players are understood to be privately keen to take part in the once-in-a-lifetime experience and their replies to the selection questionnaire could put in direct conflict with the wishes of their clubs.

The so-called "long list" will go out shortly with players being asked whether they want to represent GB at London 2012.

"It's certainly an administrative task because we are talking about every player under-23 and all those who could be selected as one of the three over-age players," an FA spokeman told insidethegames.

"That won't give us much idea of who might or might not get picked.

"That will only be the case when the short list goes in which will happen much nearer the time."

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe has said that Manchester United and other teams could benefit from their players participating in the Olympic Games football tournament next summer.

But one head-ache for whoever is appointed Team GB manager is that no players who take part in the European Championships with England are likely double up at the Olympics, giving precious little time for preparation and training. 

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
December 2011: Arsenal youngster insists "Olympics is the biggest stage"
November 2011: Premiership clubs will benefit from players appearing in Olympics, insists Coe
November 2011: Leave my kids alone, Sir Alex Ferguson warns Team GB
November 2011: "I'd love to play in the Olympics," says Joe Cole
November 2011: Great Britain men's football team begin Olympics campaign on July 26