Greene: Athletes anti Olympic footy

ONE of Britain’s top medal hopes has reopened the debate over whether football should be included in London 2012 by insisting the national game risks overshadowing more traditional Olympic pursuits.

World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene (inset) argues that football should be scrapped from the sporting extravaganza – and believes he has the backing of most of his fellow athletes.

“I don’t think the football team should be there in the first place. Most athletes would agree with what I’m saying. There’s no place for it at the Olympics,” said the Welshman.

“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, and that is not a great story from our point of view.”

Former England captain Beckham is likely to be the star attraction in Team GB’s football squad, which will be made up largely of promising stars aged 23 and under.

Greene, a former Swansea City trainee who rejected a professional deal to focus on the track, says winning a medal will not mean as much to footballers as athletes whose careers revolve around the Games.

“These guys have four to five weeks off in the summer, then become an Olympian,” added the 25-year-old.

“They want to win Premier League and Champions League trophies and World Cup medals. The crowning glory in football isn’t being Olympic champion.”