TOTTENHAM winger Gareth Bale could be suspended from the club’s pre-season friendlies throughout the Olympic Games should the Football Association lodge an official complaint, according to Fifa president Sepp Blatter.
Bale was withdrawn from Team GB’s football squad due to injury yet on Tuesday played and scored during Spurs’ friendly against Los Angeles Galaxy, and the chief of world football’s governing body revealed that should the FA decide to take action, the Wales winger could remain unavailable until 12 August.
“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,” said Blatter.
“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.”
Should any complaint be made, Fifa would then have to judge that Spurs had not released Bale. The club’s likely response would be to argue that the winger only this week returned to fitness but though it remains unclear as to how far his true influence extends, the priority of Team GB manager Stuart Pearce is to focus on today’s fixture – their first of the tournament – against Senegal.
Before Blatter’s comments, Bale had revealed his pleasure at rapidly recovering from his injury. He said: “After about 65 minutes my calf started to cramp up a bit but it was a good workout. It was one that I needed and it was good to get a goal.
“My rehab’s gone very well at the club – we are well ahead of schedule.”