Present circumstances considered (form, club, man-bun status), Gareth Bale would be the best English player in a generation, the best since Paul Gascoigne and maybe stretching even further back than that.
If you needed any further proof that the FIFA rankings are a glorified listicle conspiracy clandestinely put out by Buzzfeed to up the international eye roll quotient, Wales passed up England in the FIFA rankings this week. This is the first time in history this has happened, dating back to England’s creation of the game in 9.3 billion BC, when the first Englishman (his name was Garry Potatoes) kicked the first soccer ball.
The top 10, for your chuckling pleasure.
The Football Association insist they have letters from the other home nations accepting their right to select Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish players for British Olympic football teams.
The three other home associations are adamant they are not party to the ”historic agreement” announced by the British Olympic Association on Tuesday.
FA general secretary Alex Horne said:
”We have been very clear since the Olympic games were awarded to London that the FA is committed to Team GB football teams. We have been flexible in working with the BOA and other home nations regarding the makeup and selection for these teams being a collective of all home nations, or all English sides. It is clear that under the Olympic Charter there has to be a non-discriminatory selection process for all players. These are not the FA rules. We are sensitive to the concerns of the other home associations in relation to each of our individual identities, and we have been assured by FIFA there is no threat to each association. However as an organisation the FA has been mandated by the BOA to organise a men’s and women’s team for the 2012 Olympic football tournament across the UK. All three associations have notified us in writing that they acknowledge that legally we are entitled to support the BOA in the selection process.”
The sale of 1.7 million Olympic football tickets will begin on Friday but the BOA insist that has ”absolutely no bearing” on the timing of their announcement.
Within minutes of the British Olympic Association (BOA) claiming an “historic agreement” had been reached for a Team GB side to compete in both the men’s and women’s football competitions at London 2012, the Scottish FA has released a statement denying any knowledge of an agreement. The Football Association of Scotland, along with those of Wales and Northern Ireland, has been resistant to the move and only on Monday a statement was released claiming the stance had not changed.
So it came as a surprise when the BOA and English FA released a statement claiming an agreement had been reached to raise the prospect of Gareth Bale, Jack Wilshere and David Beckham playing in the same team.
But it would appear the gun may have been jumped as the Scottish FA has insisted its stance has not changed.
Former SFA president George Peat said:
“I am absolutely astounded. I know nothing about any such agreement. We want nothing to do with this tournament.”
The Welsh FA (FAW) has also reaffirmed its opposition to its players’ inclusion in Team GB’s football side. Welsh FA president Phil Pritchard:
”We are not part of any agreement. The FA have no authority to speak on our behalf – they do not represent Wales whatsoever and that’s a fact. We have not discussed this at any time recently.”
Click through the jump to read more.
There is a plan to combine all of Great Britain for the London Summer Olympics soccer tournament next year. Most likely, the only player that is not English who would make the combined team is Gareth Bale.
Former US national team goalkeeper Brad Friedel thinks Bale should defy a potential ban imposed by the Welch FA and play for team Great Britain. He says:
“For players such as Gareth Bale to miss out on that experience would be terrible. It’s not just the actual matches it’s the entire learning experience. You get to be around all the other sportsmen and women and for players to miss out on it in Great Britain would be a travesty.”
I do agree with Mr. Friedel that missing the Olympics is terrible and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, he is completely wrong to say just give in and join the Great Britain side. I think Bale should take a stand, defy the combined team and declare he is only playing for Wales.
He isn’t British, he is Welch and to combine those two together is like trying to blend oil and water. He should demand that Wales be allowed to compete on their own, not buried behind a Great Britain flag. Even if the competition pounded them, at least they would be their own team.