Beckham agony at Olympic snub: Coe keen hand role to former England star By JONATHAN MCEVOY and CHARLES SALE
Beckham, who believes he has been treated with ‘a lack of respect’, was given the news he had not remotely expected by manager Stuart Pearce in a phone call on Wednesday evening, telling him he had not made the final 18.
But, amazingly, neither Lord Coe, chairman of the Olympic organising committee, LOCOG, nor the British Olympic Association, under whose banner the national team will compete in London, had been informed of the controversial fate of the world’s most iconic footballer.
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Big role: Beckham has played an instrumental part in the run-up to the games
BECKHAM'S OLYMPIC AID
2005 - Played a major part in Britain's successful bid for the Games
2008 - Appeared in the Beijing closing ceremony
2012 - Flew out to Greece to collect the Olympic Torch and carried it in Britain
They had been under the impression that Pearce would not discard Beckham at the last moment, having named him in the 35-strong shortlist and travelled to America twice to see him play.
Instead, news leaked from Beckham’s disconsolate camp yesterday morning, leaving Olympic officials ‘frustrated and surprised’ at both the maverick decision and the manner in which the FA failed to communicate the sensitive news to them.
The FA understand the BOA’s frustrations but were concerned about Beckham hearing the news first. However, they then still had 16 hours to inform the Olympic organisations before word got out.
Shock: Only three of the players on the team are allowed to be over 23 years old
Watching: Stuart Pearce went to see Beckham in action before he made his decision
Lord Coe, who is believed to have been astonished by the development, immediately offered Beckham a role at the Games, saying: ‘David has been an extraordinary supporter, probably our No 1 supporter, of the Games from the very beginning and is keen to continue his enthusiastic support right to the end.
‘He really gets it. He is from east London and knows how important the Games and sport are to young people. He is a great role model and we are lucky to have such an advocate.
I will be talking to him about a Games-time role.’ The offer was echoed by the BOA, who are considering making Beckham their first non-Olympian ambassador.
But the eagerness with which Coe and the BOA have acted to accommodate him reflects how they view Pearce’s decision as crass and short-sighted.
Pearce told Beckham he had been omitted because he wanted to strengthen his defensive options following injuries to Tottenham’s Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling of Manchester United.
That means Manchester City full back Micah Richards joins Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy as the three over-23 players permitted in the squad, which will not include Everton’s Jack Rodwell — one of the players chosen to launch the Team GB kit — because of injury.
Present and correct: Beckham has flown over the world to help the bid
Beckham’s absence will frustrate his sponsors, adidas, the British team kit manufacturers, who said they were ‘hugely disappointed for David’, as well as figures within the FA hierarchy, who left Pearce to pick the team but would have much preferred Beckham to be included.
Within football, the sense of astonishment was summed up by Gary Lineker, who said: ‘There are arguments for and against David’s selection.
What I don’t understand, though, is why string him along by including him on a shortlist.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/olympics/article-2165930/David-Beckham-London-2012-Olympics-Team-GB-squad.html#ixzz23g2bp2y2