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Bale could face ban for Olympic no-show

ESPN staff
July 25, 2012 « Lampard: New-look Chelsea need time to gel | Chartbeat test »

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said Gareth Bale could be banned for playing for Tottenham during the Olympic Games if the FA lodges a complaint about him featuring for his club while unavailable for Team GB.

Bale scored as Spurs drew 1-1 with LA Galaxy during their American tour on Tuesday. He had been withdrawn from GB coach Stuart Pearce's squad for the Olympics because of injury.

The FA and British Olympic Association have not commented on his appearance for Andre Villas-Boas' side, but Blatter said: "The principle is that if a club does not release a player, then an association can come to FIFA and we will then ban this player during the Olympics.

"So far, nobody has come to FIFA [to complain about Bale] - but it is a possibility that we could ban these players if they are not at the disposal of the national team.

"They [a football association] complain and then we say: 'Let this player go or he cannot play for the club.' FIFA's position has never been so clear as it is now for the Olympics 2012 and 2016."

If any complaint over Bale was made and led to a ban, it would mean the 23-year-old Welsh international could not play in any matches for Tottenham until August 12. But Spurs would be likely to argue that Bale only regained fitness this week, justifying the decision to withdraw him from Pearce's GB squad.

Bale played 74 minutes of the match against Galaxy, and Villas-Boas said: "Gareth is extremely young and physically a beast, so he was able to put on the effort.

"We extended [his time] because we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before we start the season."

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