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Beckham out, Giggs in for Britain's Olympic team

David Beckham is out but Ryan Giggs is in for Britain's Olympic soccer team.

Beckham, one of soccer's iconic figures, announced Thursday he had failed to make the squad but the decision wasn't made official by the British Olympic Association until Monday.

"It has not been an easy task to finalize my squad for this tournament, and the stature of the competition and uniqueness of the occasion has underlined the importance of every choice I have made," coach Stuart Pearce said in a statement.

"With just 18 places, it is very different from other international tournaments. The options are limited, but it is the Olympic Games and every player in this squad should be very proud they have a chance to compete for a gold medal on home soil."

Giggs, a Manchester United midfielder, will be part of the 18-man squad for the London Games. He is one of the greatest players in Premier League history but has never played in a major international tournament with Wales.

The 38-year-old star joins fellow Welshman Craig Bellamy and England defender Micah Richards as the three overage players on the squad, which will represent Britain at an Olympics for the first time since 1960.

There are 13 Englishmen and five Welshmen on the team, and none from Scotland or Northern Ireland. Daniel Sturridge, Aaron Ramsey and Tom Cleverley were among the 15 Premier League players to make the cut.

Britain plays its opening match against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26, faces the United Arab Emirates three days later at Wembley and Uruguay on Aug. 1 at the Millennium Stadium.

"I remember the huge advantage we gained from playing in front of our own fans during Euro 96," said Pearce, a former England defender. "And I'm sure with the nation behind us it could be a fantastic tournament for us."

Britain has not fielded an Olympic team since the Rome Games 52 years ago because soccer federations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland feared losing their independence within FIFA.

The world body assured the federations that their status wouldn't be affected by participating in the 16-team competition at the London Games.