Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Greene Wants No 2012 Football

Dai Greene insists there should not be a British football side at the London 2012 Games as it will "overshadow" traditional Olympic sports.

The British Olympic Association wants a football team to play in London but the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish football associations are against it.

They fear a British team threatens their independence and Greene feels the Olympics has "no place" for football.

"I don't think the football team should be there in the first place," he said.

"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.

"These guys want to win Premierships, Champions League trophies and World Cup medals.

"They don't grow up wanting to be an Olympic champion, they want to be the best in football.

"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."

World, Commonwealth and European 400m hurdles champion Greene is one of Great Britain's best hopes for a home gold at the London Games.

Should he win in London, Greene would become just the fourth British athlete alongside Linford Christie, Daley Thompson and Sally Gunnell to win all athletics' major medals.

Greene is also bidding to become the first Welsh Olympic champion in track and field since long-jumper Lynn Davies won gold at the Tokyo Games in 1964.

The 25-year-old is a football fan and played for Swansea City's youth team but he feels his view that football should not be played at the Olympics represents the consensus among athletes.

"Most athletes would agree with what I'm saying," said Greene.

"There's no place for it at the Olympics.

"When some guy wins a gold medal in badminton or swimming, they want it to be about them and their hard work and their story to get there.

"But sadly, in some of the papers, that might be overshadowed with what David Beckham had for breakfast maybe - and that is not a great story from our point of view."

Football teams at the Olympics are for under-23 players but Games organisers do allow three 'over age' players in each squad.

Wales stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have stated their intention to play for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics despite the Football Association of Wales being against Welsh players competing for fears it threatens their sovereignty.

"I'm all for players representing Team GB," said Greene. "But I wish there wasn't a Team GB in the first place."