Olympics: Stuart Pearce set to let Gareth Bale off the hook despite Tottenham appearance
GREAT Britain manager Stuart Pearce will not make a complaint to Fifa about Gareth Bale’s withdrawal from Olympic duty with a back injury.
Welshman Bale was not selected for Pearce’s 18-man squad after reporting that he would not be fit enough to take part.
Yet, with GB set to take on Senegal in their opening game at Old Trafford today, the 23-year-old played and scored for his club, Tottenham, in their pre-season match against Los Angeles Galaxy in the US on Tuesday night. Former Wales skipper Robbie Savage and ex-England striker Gary Lineker immediately criticised him via Twitter.
And Fifa president Sepp Blatter said he would be willing to sanction Bale being suspended until the end of Olympic competition on 12 August should the Football Association lodge an official objection. However, it’s understood that will not happen as, apart from appearing petty as Bale would not miss any competitive matches, Pearce is keen to focus on this evening’s game.
The FA and British Olympic Association have not commented on Bale’s appearance but Blatter said “The principle is that if a club does not release a player then this association can come to Fifa and we will then ban this player during the duration of the Olympics. So far nobody came to Fifa to say we should, but it is a possibility we could ban these players.”
After the game, Savage posted on Twitter: “So A legend like [Ryan] giggs plays for the GB team , but bale who pulls out with injury scores for spurs last night , is that right ?
“Wales capt [Aaron] Ramsey, most decorated player giggs , prem league winner [Micah] Richards , does bale think he’s better than that even if he is class !”
Former England captain Gary Lineker tweeted: “Gareth Bale who pulled out of the Olympics through injury played for Spurs last night. Once in a lifetime
opportunity thrown away
But Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said: “He came back to us during this week and you could say that we took a risk. We were on alert about the amount of
effort he could put in.
“Gareth is young and physically a beast so he was able to put in the effort and we extended that because we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before the start of the season.
“We just welcome his recovery - that is the most important thing for me. To have a player of this dimension available is fantastic.”
Bale himself said his rehabilitation from a back injury was “well ahead of schedule”. He told Spurs TV Online: “After about 65 minutes my calf started to cramp up a bit but it was a good workout. It was one that I needed and it was good to get a goal as well.
“My rehab’s gone very well at the club – we are well ahead of schedule.
“I am glad to be back. It’s important to get a pre-season under my belt for the season forthcoming so I am just delighted to be back now.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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