Bale to escape FA ban after Galaxy appearance
LONDON, England ● Team GB’s football boss Stuart Pearce will not make a complaint to Fifa after Spurs winger Gareth Bale turned down Olympics duty due to an injury – only to then play in Tottenham’s pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy on Tuesday.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter had earlier suggested that any of the Football Associations involved could complain about the Wales midfielder’s conduct, but Pearce is understood to have dismissed any chance of making a complaint.
A potential suspension could have seen Bale banned from playing for Spurs – even in friendly games – until 12 August.
The complaint would have had to have persuaded Fifa that Bale was not released by the Premier League side – while Spurs would have argued that Bale had only just returned to full fitness.
‘The principle is that if a club does not release a player then this association can come to Fifa and we will then ban this player for the duration of the Olympics,’ Blatter said earlier.
‘So far nobody came to Fifa to say we should, but it is a possibility we could ban these players if they are not at the disposal of the national team.
‘Fifa’s position has never been so clear than it is now for the Olympics 2012 and 2016.’
Bale had pulled himself out of contention for London 2012 with a reported back injury in June, which – at the time – was thought likely to keep the player out until August.
But instead, the 23-year-old managed to play 76 minutes of the Premier League side’s 1-1 draw with the MLS outfit on Tuesday, scoring a 17th-minute goal – a header from new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross – to mark an impressive return for the highly-rated winger.
David Lopes levelled for Galaxy 12 minutes later, with the game ending all square.
And although Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas welcomed Bale’s miraculous recovery, eyebrows are likely to have been raised at FA and FAW headquarters.
The Spurs manager said: ‘He came back to us during this week so we had to control the amount of effort he could put in.
‘He is of course extremely young and, physically, a beast – so he was able to put in the effort. We extended that because we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before we start the season.
‘You could say that we took a risk. If you recall 10 minutes into the game he was stretching himself so he was feeling a little bit of muscle tightness but it was controllable and we just let him carry on.
‘We just welcome his recovery, that is the most important thing for me, to have a player of his dimensions available.’