Coe airs Olympic football fears

But London 2012 chairman thinks Games can provide a platform

Last Updated: 09/02/11 5:19pm

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Rooney: May not feature in Olympics

Rooney: May not feature in Olympics

Sky Bet

London Olympics chairman Lord Sebastian Coe acknowledges it is unlikely to be possible to force players to take part in Euro 2012 and the Games' football tournament.

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There had been hopes the Olympic competition would see the likes of Wayne Rooney taking part in a British team in the tournament next summer.

But the European Clubs Association (ECA), which includes Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, insists its players must not be made to compete in more than one major competition per season.

Coe said: "I'm sure the clubs will have a say on that, and the domestic federations, and clearly it may not be possible for players to play in both tournaments.

"I think that's very much an issue for football."

Springboard

Manchester United chief executive David Gill, an ECA board member, said on Tuesday that the Premier League would support the Olympic tournament if a reasonable approach was taken to the release of players.

The Olympic men's football tournament is an Under-23 competition, although three over-age players are allowed per squad, and Coe believes it should be used as a platform for young talent.

He added: "If you remember what the Olympic football tournament is about, I sat in the tournament final in 2004 in Athens and I watched young players like (Lionel) Messi making effectively their international debut. Years later they're playing in a World Cup.

"So actually an Olympic football tournament, when it's used as it is in a lot of countries, is a way of seasoning young players to future tournament football.

"It's a great springboard and a number of young players have understood the nature of the international game through Olympic competition and gone on to play in World Cup finals.

"We will create and deliver a great Olympic football tournament."

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