Inside Lines: FA facing Olympic backlash over Bernstein's Blatter bashing
Sunday 05 June 2011
The determination of the British Olympic Association to field an all-GB team in the 2012 football tournament has been seriously threatened by FA chairman David Bernstein's savaging of Sepp Blatter last week.
Fifa's vitriolic reaction to the stand taken by England has strengthened the resolve of the other home nations not to allow their players to be selected for the Games, fearing Blatter's ire is such that the Fifa president will renege on the promise that their individual status within the international governing body will not be affected by a united GB team.
There have been indications recently that the Scottish, Welsh and Irish FAs, under pressure from their players, inspired by Tottenham's Welsh star Gareth Bale's determination to play in the Games, were softening their stance. But any such prospect has been undermined by Argentina's Julio Grondona publicly hinting in Zurich that the present position could be reviewed as a result of the abortive England efforts, backed by Scotland, to thwart Blatter's "coronation".
The new Fifa vice-president, Jim Boyce, of Northern Ireland, warns: "There have always been threats in relation to the privileges of the British home nations and obviously there is now concern following those remarks [by Grondona] that someone may try to take the issue to a future Fifa congress."
Although theoretically the BOA have until next spring to endorse both men's and women's GB teams for the Olympics, it was hoped the issue could be resolved by the start of next season so a managers could be named, allowing them time to select and prepare the players. No chance now.
Here's a belly laugh
"Pssst," whispered the earnest young man thrusting a leaflet into my hand as I strolled into my local leisure centre. "Fancy a spot of belly dancing?"
For a moment I thought he was suggesting a visit to one of of the saucier night- spots in Surrey (are there any?). But it transpired I was being enticed into gyrating my somewhat ample girth inside the gym itself, where a slice of Turkish delight is among the increasingly eclectic offerings now available on the fitness menu as alternatives to the treadmill and bench press. But belly dancing?
I politely demurred. Fat I may be, Fatima I am not.
Not the ticket, Seb
So, dear old Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, are among the hundreds of thousands who have missed out in the ballot for Olympic tickets. Join the club.
Never mind, somehow you can't envisage Bojo having to hover outside the Olympic Stadium beseeching a ticket tout for two nice ones together. Now we learn that fewer than half the tickets for the most popular events in what were promised would be "The People's Olympics" are actually available to the people.
Readers will be aware that I have long maintained that Lord Coe and his team have got it spot-on when planning these Games in almost every respect. Except this commercially cynical exercise.
"The ticket distribution is certainly not a farce," Coe insists. But is it fair?
Who's the dope now?
Manny Pacquiao, the world's supreme fighter, has successfully settled a lawsuit against another all-time great, Oscar De La Hoya, over allegations that the Filipino had used performance-enhancing drugs.
The irony here is that De La Hoya, the original Golden Boy, who had enjoyed a reputation as boxing's Mr Clean, is currently in rehab – after admitting drugs abuse.
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