By David Gold

craig brown_21-10-11October 21 - Former Scotland player and manager Craig Brown (pictured) has warned that Scottish players choosing to play for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be placing the country's independence in world football in jeopardy.

Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell were yesterday confirmed as the managers of the men's and women's teams respectively for the football tournaments at next year's Olympics.

Pearce has made clear he will be looking to select players from all the Home Nations, whilst a number of the women's squad could come from Scotland.

Brown, who is now in charge of Aberdeen and was the last Scotsman to lead his country to a major international tournament at the World Cup in France 1998, told The Daily Record: "I am concerned this GB Olympic team could lead to the loss of Scotland's identity.

"I would implore any player who is asked to be part of it not to be selfish and to think of future generations of Scottish players who could be affected by their participation.

"They should think of the implications and appreciate what could happen, the possible ruination of the Scotland team.

"There have been repeated assurances from FIFA that a GB team would not affect the separate identities of the four home nations - but I believe President Sepp Blatter will see the forthcoming Olympics as the perfect chance to combine us.

"The present FIFA regime may agree with having the four home countries having a vote but what will future legislators feel?

"This is the thin end of the wedge in my opinion.

"The late David Will, who was a vice-president of FIFA, warned me against agreeing to a GB team and I never will."

Players such as Hearts' Andrew Driver have already indicated they would be willing to play for Britain at the Games, whilst on the women's side, Arsenal's Kim Little has said that she would be interested in competing in the united team, though teammate Julie Fleeting has said she would not participate.

sir alex_ferguson_21-10-11
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson (pictured) instantly hit back at the Football Association's suggestion that English players, such as his Manchester United talisman Wayne Rooney, could be selected for both the European Championships next summer as well as the Olympic Games.

Depending on how far England go in the European Championships, it could mean playing two international tournaments within a month of each other, and it is a prospect the Manchester United manager is aghast at.

He believes the fact that nations such as Argentina and Brazil tend to field strong teams, including their key players, has convinced the FA to follow suit.

"This is spurred by Argentina in the last Olympics, and Nigeria, playing their strongest teams, that's where it's come from," Ferguson told reporters.

"It's given the British Olympic team an opening to start thinking in the same way.

"But we have a different type of football to abroad, as everyone knows the intensity of the English game is second to none, it's an exhausting and exacting season.

"I never expect England to do well at a European Championship or a World Championship because the players have gone through a hell of a season.

"It's exactly the same with the Olympics - I don't see how they can possibly get players to raise the bar after the season they have in our game.

"They need the rest, they need the pre-season training, they need the recovery and recuperation from injuries, small injuries they carry right through the season."

Arsne Wenger_21-10-11
Ferguson's criticism was followed up by a rebuke from Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger (pictured) who said that the football competition at the Olympics was "not a real football tournament".

"It makes life impossible for the clubs and for the players, especially," Wenger added.

"They already have no real break because of Euro 2012.

"I don't know what people are thinking about who organise these tournaments.

"The federations and the clubs have to analyse each individual player case and be sensible."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2011: Mike Rowbottom - Stuart Pearce used to get his way by direct methods on the pitch. Now, as coach to Team GB, he must tread more carefully
October 2011: "I'm not in Team GB job only to select English players," says Pearce
October 2011: Exclusive - Pearce and Powell set for Team GB football roles in London 2012
October 2011: Pearce wants to head up Team GB Olympic football squad
September 2011: I'd definitely play for Britain at the Olympics given the chance, says Scot