Beckham’s absence from Olympics allows young stars to shine
David Beckham’s shock absence from the Olympic football tournament has provoked a storm of controversy, but Stuart Pearce’s decision to axe the aging star means the young prodigies of Brazil, Spain and Britain will take their rightful place in the spotlight.
Beckham was widely expected to make Great Britain’s final squad as one of three over-age players, but the former Manchester United and Real Madrid icon last week received an unwanted call from coach Pearce to inform him that he hadn’t made the cut.
The 37-year-old LA Galaxy midfielder was left out to allow Pearce to select Manchester City defender Micah Richards as his third over-age player along with Welsh duo Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy. Beckham responded with a statement underlining his disappointment and it is believed leading figures in the British Olympic heirarchy including Lord Coe, who worked closely with the player during London’s successful bid to host the event, were also unhappy that such a globally recognised figure would no longer be part of the Games.
While tickets for many of the Olympic events have already sold out, there has been less interest in the football, which is seen in Britain as a poor quality alternative to the Premier League and Champions League fare served up during the club season.
At one stage, there were over a million football tickets still available and Beckham would have sparked an increase in sales. However, Pearce was well within his rights not to pick a player clearly in the twilight of his career and it is impossible to deny that his selection would have been motivated by profits rather than sporting merits.