WITH the football season nearing its conclusion (apart, of course from the European Championships) thoughts are already turning towards the big sporting occasion of the summer, the 2012 London Olympics. And one of England’s top ex-players has put the cat among the pigeons by suggesting that Olympic football should be played by amateur footballers, not professionals.
The former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, who retired in 2004, told BBC Sport: “If you get the option it’s a big decision. Obviously representing Great Britain would be a massive honour, but I was a professional for 22 years and I don’t think I would have done it.”
Before 1984, men’s Olympic football was only played by amateur players. Seaman, who gained 75 England caps and played in two World Cups, added: “I don’t think it’s for professional footballers – I’ve always felt it should be left to the amateurs and I’ll stand by that.” The regulations state that male competitors must be under 23, with three over-age players allowed per squad, came in at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
David Beckham is amongst those heavily tipped to be one of the over-age players for Team GB. The GB team will meet Senegal, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay in the group phase. Personally I agree with Seaman’s comments but why pick on football, why not kick commercialism completely out of Olympics and go back to the original concept and have all competitors strictly amateur?
Glad to see that clubs in the Championship have finally signed up to financial fair play regulations. Clubs making losses of more than £6m will be fined millions of pounds or put under a transfer embargo from the 2014-15 season. The aim is to bring a degree of financial realism to the game and also to prevent owners from funding their clubs through loans. Football League chairman Greg Clarke said the rules “will begin to lay the foundations for a league of financially self-sustaining football clubs.” Owners will be allowed to invest £6m next season, £5m the year after, then £3m in the 2014-15 season. From 2015-16, clubs will be allowed to make a £2m operating loss, as well accept a £3m investment from an owner – allowing for a £5m overall loss. Football League’s research revealed the 72 clubs of the Championship, League One and League Two are on course to accumulate £2bn of debt.
More good news – goal-line technology is be used in a football match for the first time. The Hampshire Senior Cup Final between Eastleigh FC and AFC Totton on May 16 will test Hawk-Eye’s camera-based system.
You may not get the best standard of football if you pop along to watch Morecambe who are mid-table in League Two but you can be guaranteed the best pies in the game. Their pies have just won four accolades in the British Pie Awards including Best Football Pie for its steak and ale pie.
The chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association Gordon Taylor has defended the decision to named jailed Sheffield United striker Ched Evans in the PFA League One team of the year. Evans was confirmed in the team which was voted for by players last month, days after he was jailed for rape. Taylor said: “That was a football judgement by his fellow professionals, it was not a moral judgement. If he had been removed from the team it would have created more of a storm.”