I have been monitoring the developments for more than a year now. For some background on the issue, here is a link:
In case you are wondering why I have Northern Ireland in parenthesis in the title, well, the home nations (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) of the United Kingdom have a unique government and status. To make it brief, Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland, and Wales, and the United Kingdom is made up of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In some sporting organisations like football (FIFA), where the home countries have their own individual memberships. In rugby, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have one team as Ireland. Some like basketball and the Olympics, they are represented by a British team or a team from Great Britain. Also, in the United Nations, they are represented by the United Kingdom.
Now where does Northern Ireland come in? To make it short again, an athlete from Northern Ireland who wants to compete for the Olympics have an option to join either the Great Britain team or the Ireland team. Under the terms of a long-standing settlement between the British Olympic Association and the Olympic Council of Ireland, athletes from Northern Ireland can elect to represent either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympics, and are legally entitled to dual citizenship.
If you want a more detailed differences on the different British terminologies, check this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Isles_(terminology)
Since Ireland wont be playing football in the 2012 Olympics and Great Britain as host nation are given a free slot in the tournament, the British Olympic Association is trying to work with the respective football association of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, only the FA of England is willing to participate. Nevertheless, the newly appointed Olympic coach/manager Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell as Team GB men's and women's head coaches respectively, and both are determined to get players from all four nations.
Another thing to explain to those who are not aware, the mens Olympic football is composed of U-23 players (whom under FIFA rules, mother clubs have no right preventing them to play) and three over-aged players (whom mother clubs have the right to release them to participate in the Olympics to prevent injury and protect their investment). An example of such scenario is when Ronaldinho signed with AC Milan in 2008, he was allowed to play for Beijing 2008.
David Beckham (as one of the over-aged players) has been vocally offering his services to play with the Olympic team. Pearce however, has stated that he hasn’t seen Beckham play lately, and has already stated that he wants Welshman Ryan Giggs to be part of the team. However, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger just recently stated have objections in sending their players to play for the Olympics. Also there are rumours circulating in the tabloids that Wayne Rooney might be considered for the Olympics, since he would be missing the first 3 games of the Euro 2012 and might be dropped from the European competition.
For the U-23 non English players, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale are considered. But again, it will all depend on the cooperation of all the football associations of all 4 countries since Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland keep on stating that they wont be sending any players to the Olympics, but wouldn’t oppose an all-English lineup.