Should football be part of Olympic programme?

While some Welsh people have been debating whether their countrymen should join the Great Britain Olympic football team at London 2012, world champion hurdler Dai Greene addressed a far bigger question.

“I don’t think the football team should be there in the first place,” the former Swansea youth team player told BBC Wales.

“I hope that those big names don’t overshadow those people who have trained for four years to be there for that one moment.

“These guys have four to five weeks off in the summer then become an Olympian. It does seem a little bit out of place.

“The crowning glory in football isn’t being Olympic champion so I don’t think their sport should necessarily be involved – or at least at a professional level.”

For Welsh players like Aaron Ramsay and Gareth Bale (whose appearance in a GB football supporters’ shirt reignited the debate) an Olympic appearance could provide a career highlight as Wales  last qualified for a major tournament in 1958.

For many others, though, it will not even be the highlight of the year as the European Championships directly precede the Olympics.

To make the Olympic tournament unique, world football governing body Fifa has restricted teams to just three players over the age of 23, which for many further undermines the prestige of a gold medal.

Olympic badminton silver medallist Gail Emms touched on an important argument, though, tweeting in reply to Greene.

Arguably the Olympic stage offers more prestige to women’s football, despite the popularity of their World Cup and European Championships.

The other attraction of the tournament for organisers is that it will be played at venues around the country, taking London’s Games to Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Coventry, and could attract spectators who may not be interested in other Olympic sports.

What do you think? Please vote and have your say, either by leaving a comment below or by tweeting @martingough22

UPDATE – Views on Twitter:

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One Response to Should football be part of Olympic programme?

  1. Iain C says:

    In full agreement with Dai Greene, the Olympics should be the top prize in sport, so for me if the simple test question “What is your main aim this year” isn’t answered by “an Olympic gold medal” then you shouldn’t be there. I heard a story from the Italian team who flew back from Beijing with the gold medallists in economy and the footballers who had failed miserably in 1st class. A lot of disquiet, and an insult to truly committed athletes.

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