Arsene Wenger reacted mirthfully to suggestions that he might let any of his players take place in the Olympics football tournament in London next summer.
Like most managers, who would object to the players they pay huge money to buggering off and playing in a worthless tournament nobody cares about, he gave short shrift to the idea of any Arsenal player being involved. Especially as there’s the small matter of Euro 2012 to contend with anyway.
“Why not organise another tournament behind that?”, he laughed at his press conference this afternoon.”Imagine a player who has played in the Euros and the Olympic Games? You can’t use him after that, it’s impossible. I usually try to give four weeks off to a player who has played a tournament. That tells you maybe I would get the players back at Christmas”.
And he scoffed at the idea that anyone takes the football part of the Olympic games seriously. “The Olympic tournament for me is not a real football tournament. For me the Olympics is for track and field basically.
“If I asked you now who won the Olympic Games 20 years ago you would have problems telling me”.
Unlike Euro 2012 clubs do not have to release players for the Olympics as it is not a FIFA sanctioned tournament. Therefore, any manager with half a brain will refuse to allow his players to go. There has been some suggestion that it should be left up to players to decide but the idea of allowing them to choose to take time off from their extremely well paid jobs to play in what should be an amateur kickabout is ludicrous.
And Wenger is right about football in the Olympics. When I bought Daley Thompson’s Decathlon for my ZX Spectrum, there was no football. Just a series of games where you had to pound keys on the keyboard as fast as you could in order to make your little pixelated man run.
And if life has taught me anything it’s that the video games of my youth never lied. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on my jet pac before I go mining in a particularly manic fashion.