POSTED: January 25th 2009

Kick football out, says Smith

No Olympic share for the cross of St Andrew? /
No Olympic share for the cross of St Andrew? /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/GLASGOW: Football should be excluded from the Olympic Games because it is a "discriminatory" sport, according to Gordon Smith, chief executive of Scottish Football Association.

Scotland are currently aligned with Northern Ireland and Wales against England in opposing the one-off creation of Great Britain men's and women's teams to participate at the London Games in 2012.

The three home nations fear that, despite assurances to the contrary from world authority FIFA, co-operating in a joint team would put their international football independence at risk.

Smith said: "The Olympics should be the pinnacle of any sporting event and that certainly isn't the case for football. You could present exactly the same argument for tennis.

"It also an under-23 event, which means it's a discriminatory event and there is no other Olympics event which has anything to do with age. Football's the only one. Why's it not an event for left-footed players or players who are 5ft 6in?"

Football was first seen at the Olympics in 1896 and was has since been absent from the programme only once, in St Louis in 1932. Women's football was added to the Olympic programme at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Argentina are the current men's Olympic champions with the women's gold in Beijing last summer having been won by the United States.

Keywords · Olympic Games · football · Gordon Smith · Scotland · London 2012

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