As soon as Gareth Bale took to the field to face LA Galaxy in the early hours of yesterday morning, collective eyebrows were raised at the Welshman’s inclusion. Having pulled out of the Team GB Olympic squad last month, he wasn’t expected to play any part in this US tour and his appearance in the 1-1 draw sparked a chain of controversy.
Tottenham themselves have placed an update on the website that relates specifically to Bale’s fitness,
‘We continue to monitor Gareth Bale’s progress after his successful return to action against LA Galaxy on Tuesday,’ the statement reads.
‘We initially anticipated that Gareth would return for our friendly against Baltimore on Saturday, but the winger’s rehabilitation from a back injury has gone better than expected, having travelled out with dedicated medical personnel.
Gareth will now continue his recovery programme with the medical team with the target of being fully match fit for the start of the Premier League on August 18.’
The club’s actions drew a predictable response from Sepp Blatter,
“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 during the duration of the Olympics,” Blatter said.
“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.”
Team GB coach Stuart Pearce has however suggested that he will not make a complaint so maybe this will simply go away. However, should the club have really thought this one through before allowing Gareth to play such a full part in the first match?