Tottenham star Gareth Bale has caused a stir with FIFA since he said he wasn’t fit enough to play for Great Britain in the Summer Olympic Games, but has suited up for Spurs in their pre-season tour of America. According to FIFA, they have the power to ban Bale because he played against the Los Angeles Galaxy on July 24th.
Bale told Olympic football manager Stuart Pearce that he wouldn’t be able to play in the tournament since he was suffering from a back injury. However, he scored against the Galaxy and didn’t appear to be suffering from any ill effects. Of course, injuries are hard to prove and nobody knows how long they take to recover from.
Britain could definitely use him in the Olympics though after drawing (Pearce’s specialty) 1-1 with Senegal on July 26th at Old Trafford. FIFA dictator Sepp Blatter said players that didn’t show up for duty for their Olympic teams could be punished, but I don’t really see how the Olympics are any of Blatter’s and FIFA’s business.
Blatter said if clubs don’t release players for the Games and the country’s association complains about it then the player could be banned. However, it’s unlikely the English Football Association will file a complaint. Bale said he recovered from his injury quicker than expected and that’s why he’s playing for Spurs. Some fans feel Spurs new manager Andre Villas Boas was behind Bale's Olympic pullout, but it appears to have been Bale’s choice.
There are two basic problems with this incident. One of them is that FIFA has way too much power over world football matters and the other is that professional athletes shouldn’t be taking part in the Olympics anyway.