Nick Harris: David Beckham eyes Olympic glory with 'home' run

11 December 2010 10:05
David Beckham's role in the British team at the London 2012 Olympics is one of several major talking points on the agenda in planning talks between the FA, the British Olympic Association and the Premier League about the Games football tournament in 19 months' time.

The release of players for GB duty in a busy summer, the timing of the start of the 2012-13 season and the probably forlorn hope of having a genuinely British - rather than just English - team are also being discussed.

Box office smash: Beckham would certainly pull in the crowds if were he was to feature for Team GB

Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine runs from June 8 to July 1, the Games run from July 27 to August 12 and the start of the domestic season is being mooted for August 17. 

Possible GB 2012 Olympics team:Steele (Middlesbrough, age 22 at 2012); Trippier (Man City, 21), Jones (Blackburn, 20); Smalling (Man Utd, 22), Gibbs (Arsenal, 22); Wilshere (Arsenal, 20), Ramsey (Arsenal, 21), Rodwell (Everton, 21); Bale (Spurs, 23), Rooney (Man Utd, 27), Walcott (Arsenal, 23).

Player-coach: David Beckham.

Manager: Harry Redknapp.

Beckham's position is that he wants toplay for Britain in his native East End. Contrary to reports that hecraves an imminent FA political role or is about to buy an Americanclub, insiders insist he has one ambition for now.

'He just wants to play as long as he can,' one says. 'Nothing else. He's contracted to LA Galaxy until the end of 2011 but wants to keep playing beyond. He's made no secret the Olympics would be a dream.'

The BOA would be delighted to have Beckham on board as a player if managerelect Harry Redknapp feels he can fulfil a playing role, or as a coach. They would love Beckham's box-office pull in a tournament when a hectic schedule and under-23 rules will dictate only three senior stars at most.

With Vauxhall about to announce headline sponsorship deals with all four home nation FAs, they might attempt to encourage a fully British XI, which could include Wales's Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, but that remains a long shot.

 Qatar's £125million five yearsponsorship deal with Barcelona, the first time the Catalan club havesold advertising on their shirts, suggests the sheiks may have changedtactics over their footballing investments.

Which adds credence to the rumoursthat the tiny emirate's rulers, who have landed the right to stage the2022 World Cup, may have assisted the Glazer family in clearing their£220m of 'ticking timebomb' PIK debt with Manchester United.

Middle East Men? Have the Qatari's helped re-finance Manchester United's debt?

A family spokesman recently refusedto confirm or deny that the Qataris have cleared or refinanced the debtto gain an 'option' on buying United, and no shares have beentransferred to Qatar.

But that same spokesman has since left theGlazers' employment and, with no sign of a replacement, the suggestionis that the Glazers are preparing to sell up.

A group of Liverpoolbusinessmen courted the Qataris last year in a bid to persuade them tobuy their club. They were told Qatar's investment strategy was to takeinternational events, such as 2022, to Qatar, not to buy overseasteams.

The rationale was that investing in one club to gain attentionand boost tourism might backfire if it alienated fans of other clubs. The Barca deal shows that has changed.

 VALDERRAMA SHARK-BAITINGGreg Norman has been caught up in arow over the future of Valderrama golf club because a company hefronts, The Stripe Group (TSG), have agreed to buy the prestigiousSpanish venue for around £30million against the wishes of a block ofwellheeled members.

The current owners, the Patino family, are selling because they need the money, and say TSG will be good custodians.

The anti-sale group point to TSG'sdesire to build new villas and to 'commercialise the Valderramatrademarks' as signs that their paradise could move downmarket.

They are also concerned that thesale will rob them of an option for a members' buy-out. The revoltingmembers have until Wednesday to thwart the Great White Shark (left);the deal then 'completes'.

A source said: 'It's like someone buying the All England Club to build some holiday cottages.'

CRICKET FACES NEW GAMBLING CRISISCricket is facing a fresh betting nightmare - an epidemic of gambling addictions among professional players.

'We have a horrendous problem withthis in our sport,' Ian Smith, legal director of the ProfessionalCricketers' Association, told me at the FrontRow Legal seminar onsports integrity.

'If gambling is a problem in societyas a whole, think how magnified it becomes in young men with money andin search of a buzz to replicate what they get from sport,' said Smith.

'It's destroying lives. I went tosee a player the other day who was earning £85,000 a year from cricketthree years ago, but is hopelessly addicted.

Now he's unemployed,living in a hostel and all his possessions fit in a supermarket bag.'

 Charles Sale: Vauxhall step up international drive with £5million dealMartin Samuel: Hughton's end was a tawdry business, you can bet on itMATT LAWTON INTERVIEW: Eddie's inspiring story puts FIFA to shame Des Kelly: Newcastle fans should spare us all the Pard luck story despite Hughton axe

 Explore more:People: David Beckham, Harry Redknapp, Greg Norman, Gareth Bale Places: Barcelona, London, Poland, Qatar, Wales Organisations: British Olympic Association, All England Club

Source: Daily_Mail

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