Bale could be banned for length of games.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter says Gareth Bale could be banned for playing for Tottenham while the Olympics are on.
The Tottenham midfielder withdrew from Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain squad for the London Games through injury.
However, the Welshman played 74 minutes for Spurs in their pre-season friendly clash against Los Angeles Galaxy in California on Tuesday – two days before Team GB face Senegal in their opening game at Old Trafford.
The Football Association and British Olympic Association have not commented on Bale’s surprise appearance, but Blatter said if there was an official complaint to FIFA then the 23-year-old could be banned for playing again for Spurs – even in friendlies – until August 12.
“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,” Blatter told the Press Association.
“So far nobody came to FIFA to say we should, but it is a possibility we could ban these players if they are not at the disposal of the national team.
“They (the association) complain and then we say let this player go or he cannot play for the club. FIFA’s position has never been so clear than it is now for the Olympics 2012 and 2016.”
The furore over Gareth Bale’s mysterious recovery from a back injury has escalated fast, with the president of FIFA – no less – now putting his oar in.
With the Welsh wing-wizard being panned from all corners, it’s worth pointing out that Bale was a massive advocate of playing for Team GB and fought the Welsh FA tooth and nail for his chance to be involved.
Speaking at the end of last year, the 22-year-old said: “I want to play in the Olympics. I think it would be a great experience.
“You see it with the British and Irish Lions in the rugby, they come together as a unit and play against other countries. It’s great and there’s no reason why that can’t happen with the football.
“At the moment Wales haven’t qualified for a major tournament in I don’t know how many years so it would be nice to play in one against the best countries in the world.”
With compatriots Joe Allen, Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Neil Taylor all set to be heavily involved, Bale will be disappointed to miss out and if anyone deserves a slap on the wrist, it’s Spurs for advising him to pull out.
A ban looks unlikely because FIFA will never be able to prove that Bale didn’t genuinely recover much sooner than expected. And even if Spurs did exaggerate the extent of his back problem, haven’t top Premier League clubs been doing the same for years?
Giggs, for example, would have twice the number of caps he presently he has if Sir Alex Ferguson had allowed him to play in every meaningless Wales friendly.
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