Rogge backs Beckham Olympic snub

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International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge supported the decision to omit David Beckham from the British football squad at the London Olympics in comments to CNN on Wednesday. Rogge said that it was British coach Stuart Pearce’s job to select the best players to give the host squad its best chance for success when the London Olympic tournament kicks off later this month. “If the head coach decides not to field the player that’s the end of it,” Rogge said.
“This is not an issue for sentiment. It’s not an issue for nostalgia. It’s about being the best athlete in the world in your own place, in your own sport.” Rogge, 70, said he would have “loved” to have seen former England football captain Beckham, a major player in the bidding to bring the Games to London, on the field in the Olympics. “He has done a great job in bidding for the Games,” Rogge said. “He has a great personality. He has a very likeable person. But it’s the law of sport.”
Rogge said he plans to watch competition in all 26 sports on offer at London, looking forward to seeing a swim showdown between US stars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and the men’s 100-meter athletics final on August 5. “I want to see the fight between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in the sprint,” Rogge said. Blake defeated Bolt, the reigning 100m and 200m Olympic champion and world record-holder, in both events at last weekend’s Jamaican Olympic trials.
A chance for youngsters to prove in absence of Beckham: 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.