Inverurie Eye

Neil Thomson
Neil Thomson

READERS may have noticed that a sporting event is being held in London this summer, the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known as the London 2012 Olympics.

Now I know that the decision to stage the Olympics in London has created quite a bit of controversy, not least the huge cost of hosting the event, with latest reports stating that the cost could rise to as much as £24 billion, a colossal figure even without the precarious state of many economies worldwide. Supporters say that such a global event will generate large amounts for the UK economy, and recent Olympics (with a couple of notable exceptions), seem to bear this out.

North of the border there has been a fair bit of grumbling over how an event staged, in the main, in and around London, is of any benefit to us. However, I must admit to being a fan of the Olympics. Allan Wells winning gold in Moscow, the Coe-Ovett rivalry, Daley Thompson at his dominant best, the irrepressible Usain Bolt, I could go on.

The only events being staged in Scotland are some of the scheduled football matches, taking place at Hampden Park.

That brings up the subject causing a lot of problems, Olympic football. The UK, which has four independent Football Associations, has not entered a football team, officially since the abolition of the distinction between amateur and professional football in 1974, but in reality since 1956. However, as the UK is generally believed to have given the world the game, there has been pressure to enter a UK team this summer.

Now the arguments against it are well known, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland believing participation would be a major step towards FIFA insisting that there should be a United Kingdom national team only.

In my opinion I don’t think football has any place at the Olympics, despite it having been included in every games since 1900 bar one. Football is no more an Olympic sport than is baseball (which was) or golf (which will be in 2016). It’s not even as if it is the best in the world taking part, it is one of the few Olympic sports that places restrictions on eligibility. Football has it’s own world championships the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics, are at best, an Under-23 World Cup.

Fingers crossed, there will be another couple of reasons for us in this neck-of-the-woods to get excited about the Olympics. Can Inverurie’s own swimming superstar Hannah Miley become an Olympic medalist to add to her Commonwelath gold? Or how about Chapel of Garioch’s rising star of pentathlon Freyja Prentice? For Freyja to qualify for one of just two places in Team GB, from a highly competitive group of British female pent athletes, would be a triumph alone.

I’ll be glued to the TV come summer, I just won’t be watching the football.