Sepp Blatter's call to ban Gareth Bale criticised

Updated: Thursday, 26 Jul 2012 13:01

British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan today criticised Sepp Blatter for suggesting Gareth Bale could be banned from playing for Tottenham during London 2012.

Moynihan claimed he could "understand" the anger of Great Britain fans who saw Bale pull out of the Games with a back injury only for the winger to take part in a pre-season friendly for Spurs.

That was almost two days before Team GB's opening Olympic match against Senegal tonight and sparked widespread criticism of the 23-year-old.

Moynihan said: "I understand the response from some football fans who were hoping to see him play as part of Team GB.

"My view is different.

"I welcome the fact that he has returned from injury earlier than expected."

He added: "I don't agree with Sepp Blatter's comments about banning him.

"I think Sepp Blatter needs to get closer to Team GB."

Britain's men will kick off a day after their female counterparts got the Olympic hosts off to a successful start against New Zealand.

Moynihan was at the Mansion House last night when the result came in and said he had "never heard such a raucous noise" in the building.

He added: "It's lifted the whole atmosphere around Team GB in the Village.

"I think in their own right the women are going to be history makers for Team GB."

BOA chef de mission Andy Hunt said: "Any athletes who weren't in training were watching and listening to the matches."

The situation with Bale was compared to that which saw Wayne Rooney named in England's European Championship squad despite being suspended for two matches.

Hunt said: "Stuart [Pearce] made that selection based on fitness and form.

"You can't ever predict recovery from injury.

"Gareth, in some ways, is missing an amazing opportunity.

"He wasn't fit at the time.

"You see the comments back from the players. Their eyes have been opened to the importance of the Olympics."

Hunt was pressed on why the BOA had demanded the medical records of injured triple-jumper Phillips Idowu and not those of Bale.

"There's a very simple difference," Hunt said.

"Phillips is selected for the team. Gareth wasn't selected because he wasn't available."

He added: "We leave the selection down to the sports. It's not for me to interfere with the selection process."