BOA Blasts Blatter Over Gareth Bale Threat; Japan Shock Spain in Olympics

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Moynihan at today's press conference (Getty)
(WFI) British Olympic Association leadership today scoffed at FIFA president Sepp Blatter's suggestion that Welsh international Gareth Bale should be suspended for playing club football during the Olympics.

Bale claimed a back injury forced him to cancel his plans to play for Great Britain in the Olympic football tournament.

He recovered to join Tottenham Hotspur FC on its US tour and scored in a 1-1 pre-season friendly match Wednesday against Major League Soccer champions Los Angeles Galaxy in California.

"I welcome the fact that actually he has recovered from injury earlier than anticipated, I welcome the fact Tottenham have got a great player in action at the moment," said BOA chairman Colin Moynihan at a Thursday news conference in the Main Press Centre on London's Olympic Park.

"I don't agree with Sepp Blatter's comments.

"Sepp Blatter needs to get a bit closer to Team GB and join me on the Jubilee Line, I didn't notice him there this morning.

"It would've been helpful because i could've explained the situation with him very clearly," Moynihan said. "It's a pity that Gareth isn't part of the team."

Great Britain's men kicked off their Olympic campaign this evening with a game against Senegal at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground.

Japanese players celebrate Yuki Otsu's goal (Getty)
men are taking part in their first Olympics since the 1960 Rome Games.

Coach Stuart Pearce believes that success on home soil in 2012 might set a future precedent for generations to come.

"The one thing we have got to do is showcase our sport in the Olympic Games, so people will turn round in a few years time and put another team in the Olympics if we are good enough to qualify," he told

"We have 18 individuals who have the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games and who have the chance to come away with that experience and be better players for it.

"Whether they are 37 or 38, or 19 like our youngest player here, they will have a better football experience by being part of this tournament."

In the first match of the Olympics men's football competition, Uruguay ended their 84-year absence at the Games with a 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates in Manchester.

Elsewhere, Japan caused a shock by beating Spain 1-0, while Mexico drew with South Korea and Honduras drew 2-2 with Morocco.

World Cup champions Spain, who also won the last two European Championships, went down to 10 men in the 41st minute when Inigo Martinez was dismissed for a foul on Kensuke Nagai outside the area.

Japan had looked threatening and it turned out that Yuki Otsu's 34th minute goal from close range was enough to settle the tie in front of the 37,300 crowd at Glasgow's Hampden Park.

It was Japan's their first ever win over Spain at any level.

By INSIDER's Bob Mackin and Mark Bisson

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