FIFA President Gianni Infantino claims British Olympic football teams would not effect home nations' independence ©Getty Images

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has claimed Great Britain having men's and women's football teams at the Olympic Games would not harm the independent status of the four Home  Nations.

The English Football Association (FA) have been a firm supporter of having British teams compete at the Olympic Games, with one-off teams playing on home soil at London 2012.

While the British Olympic Association have expressed their willingness to have football teams at future Olympics, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are concerned about the effect a Great Britain team would have on their independence within FIFA.

Their reluctance led to the FA withdrawing plans to enter men's and women's Great Britain teams at Rio 2016.

A men’s team would not have featured anyway, with England failing to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

The women’s team, however, would have been eligible to compete at Rio 2016 after a third place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

Sweden took their place at the Olympic Games and went on to claim a silver medal, losing 2-1 in the final to Germany.

Infantino has claimed that he does not see the Home Nations' independence as an issue, but claimed it was up the National Associations to come to an agreement.

British football teams appeared at London 2012 but were not represented at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
British football teams appeared at London 2012 but were not represented at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

"I see things in a much more pragmatic way in general," he told the Press Association.

"The Olympics are such that there has to be one team from the United Kingdom, so if we can find a football solution which allows a football team from the United Kingdom - and if they qualify to play - then this would certainly not jeopardise in any way whatsoever 130, 140, 150 years of history of the four Home Nations.

"It's up for them to agree.

"They speak the same language so they should speak to each other and see how they can best agree to do something like that."

Following the completion of the Rio 2016 football competitions, Infantino said he would talk to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the "sensitive issues"concerning the tournaments.

He claimed that the format of the men’s competition was "not a good solution", with three over-age players currently allowed to be named in squads with the rest being under-23 players.

The women’s tournament, by contrast, has no requirements regarding players’ age.

Infantino asserted that women’s football has developed significantly as a result of the Olympics, but that he was looking at tackling issues affecting the men’s tournament.