London’s Olympic Games will be the poorer for David Beckham’s absence and his omission from Britain’s football squad highlights the lottery of selections based on subjectivity instead of results.
The fact that so many of the UK’s esteemed football writers - normally highly critical appraisers of sporting talent – have voiced their dismay on social networking sites shows how many experts recognized that Beckham’s place at the Olympics was about more than just his merit as a player.
Henry Winter of Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper wrote “Becks deserved more respect.” Matt Dickinson from The Times tweeted, “shocked by the Beckham news” while The Mirror’s John Cross said he was “Stunned – Beckham deserved it on every level.”
Even Italian football writer Tancredi Palmeri joined the debate, comparing the announcement with Roberto Baggio’s controversial omission from Italy’s 2002 World Cup squad.
The former England captain inspires loyalty from those who have watched him play. In the country which invented soccer, attitude is valued as highly as technique and Becks always looked like he was giving 100 percent.
On top of that, Beckham is a global sporting icon who has maximized his brand value off the football pitch as much as his talent on it.
The star midfielder was even used as part of the team which successfully secured London's right to host the Games for a third time in 2005.
Forbes magazine’s most recent list of the world’s highest paid players put Beckham top, above other more highly-rated stars like Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Although the 37-year old Englishman plays in America’s Major League Soccer, which is considered at least one level below Europe’s top leagues, his presence in the United States has helped boost his global celebrity.
And, like it or not, the Olympics is now as much about sporting superstars as those heart-warming stories of little-known athletes, from far flung corners of the planet, living off a pittance and defying the odds to reach the podium.
Beckham isn’t the only headline act that Olympic spectators will miss during London 2012. Swimmer Ian Thorpe – a five times gold medallist – failed to make Australia’s team, although he only had himself to blame.
“The Thorpedo” simply wasn’t quick enough after coming out of retirement. And that was the problem for Haile Gebrselassie. The former world record holder for the 5000 meters, 10,000 meters and the marathon didn’t make the cut at Ethiopia’s qualification race.
However, unlike a swimming or running race, selecting a football team is subjective. And the coach of Team GB’s football squad, Stuart Pearce, had the perfect excuse to indulge in the sentimentality of including a fading football legend admired in Britain and around the world.
London 2012 is a one-off. Because England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland operate as separate football associations they are only entering a team this year because the tournament is on home soil. They won’t for future Olympics.
Tickets for the football matches haven’t been as popular as some of the other events. Beckham’s presence could well have boosted sales and, while making the Games a financial success isn’t normally a coach’s concern, perhaps it should have played a part in Pearce’s thinking.
Normally I would applaud a cold-hearted, logical approach to picking a team but Beckham should have been an exception to the rule.
Nothing about selecting Beckham made any sense. It was his choice to play in America when it was patently obvious his talents deserved better, it's been his choice to place "Brand Beckham" above sporting excellence, and it was his performance under the eye of Stuart Pearce that means he will not be selected. By every single rationelle available, omitting Beckham makes logical sense.
So why does it leave a bad taste in the mouth? Why shouldn't a man who has never let our nation down on the pitch, nor off it (Beckham's contribution in bringing the games to London cannot be underestimated) not be allowed to say a fond farewell to a country to whom he is rightly regarded a genuine icon, even a half decent role model? Sometimes sentiment has to play a part in sport, and selecting Beckham above Giggs, a pugnacious individual whose own private life has been the tabloid story of the year would have been a fitting reward. He doesn't deserve to be there by any stretch, but he should be, and Team GB, who would surely have benefitted from having a man of his stature and experience knocking around the place, will be a little worse for his ommission.
I thought the olympics was about sending your best athletes. Sure Mr. Beckham has had a spectacular career, but I thought the Olympics was about winning, not just showing up. I thought the Olympics was about sport – as in playing, not as in how many tickets you sold. So I would think that you would want to give yourself the best chance to win. And for those of you that think it isn't about winning – why do they keep track of the medals won? Why do they play the winner's national anthem? Because it's about winning, not about kumbaya.
There are places for honors and life-time achievement awards and the like. But the Olympics is a once-every-4-years chance to win something.
But I will defer to the fans of soccer and Mr. Beckham. If you had to choose – would you rather WIN the gold medal or have Mr. Beckham play? Some will say that you can have both – but that is not what I'm asking. If you could only have one or the other – which would you rather? I'd rather give England the best chance to win, but that's just me. Sorry Dave, you've had your time.
it is really bad
The kumbaya comment was indicative in a way of the real reason he was passed by. Aside from his abilities, the star appeal, and perhaps his last opportunity at this level, Beckham is a close friend of both Prince William and Barrack Obama. No one with that connection to pedigree is going to be chosen by selectors that claim decisions are based on subjectivity. Mr. Beckham, even if we set aside the diminutive age prejudice, is no longer able to fly under the high class and low racial radar. Sad...
Well my opinion, which probably don't count for much, is that I believe David should be able to play. If you read about the player that beat him out of the spot, it says that the coach had previously coached him for many years. Again my opinion but I think others should also be involved in picking the team, not just Pierce because he would obviously pick and favor the ones he coached all those years.
What is GB, Great Britain? Really? They still call themselves "great"?
The England soccer team is crazy leaving Beckham off even if he is the 18th man... having him present will make a moral boast to the team but will also create a media frenzy putting all focus on the English team to 3 billion viewers around the world. If you want to bring attention to England soccer this is one way to do it.. on the field is another but why not do both.. as a Canadian with no team to watch I would watch and cheer for England.. so would a few another few billion people I am sure.. now i am not interested in England soccer as they have no flair... portugal, germany, spain all have mega superstars... England not so much... what a dumb mistake the coach and coaching staff made.. with 3 billion people watching it's not always just about the game....
The way England is playing now, what harm could including Beckham do?
Beckham didn't make it, as once someone took the right decision. He's too old, chose to 'retire' in the USA and make money. He's as popular here as his hanger-on wife Victoria. Both 'have-been's'. Pleeeease!!
I hope this blog reaches Andy Hunt the Team GB
Chef De Mission for the London 2012 Olympic Games
Before its too late for gods sake SACK STUART PEARCE you have not sold enough football tickets for any of the matches outside London and with this omission of probably one of the finest footballers this country has ever had since the 1960's and definitely the Greatest Ambassador for British Football there has ever been, you have just lost any chance of selling the rest. Your choice of Team GB Manager Stuart Pearce shows how little you know of the British Mindset regarding football, the only thing this person will be remembered for his rank arrogance about the John Terry debac'le. Its like putting Long John Silver in charge of your favourite sport sailing, how would you like that?
I remind you of your own quote on the 29th December 2011
"IT’S 2012, IT’S TIME TO DELIVER"
I will give you a quote IT'S 2012 IT'S TIME TO MAN UP ADMIT YOUR MISTAKE AND SACK THAT NUMTY Pearce and GET BECKHAM IN.
I hope you have the spheroids to answer all of the disgruntled football fans you personally have let down.
Tom, you could not possibly be more completely, hilariously wrong when you say that you "thought the Olympics was about winning, not just showing up."
I happen to have the founder of the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, right here. He said: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."
Beckham was never that great of a player to begin with. He was just marketed in America as the face of soccer along with the rest of Man U and people who don´t really know the sport idolized him as a legendary player. And now with is age and injury history he can´t be expected to play at this level today. I haven´t been following the roster selection for GB but I´m surprised he was even considered. As far as the coach´s choice, of course he´s more likely to select players he´s coached in years past, he knows their style of play and knows how to use them on the field , that´s a coach´s job after all. Why take a risk with someone he´s not sure of?
So you'd recommend prioritising attendance over chances of winning?
Becks wasn't good enough for England, let alone team GB. Had he chosen to play in a challenging league, maybe. But by chosing to continue playing in the US, despite having been offered opportunities in Europe, he clearly chose fame, glamour and comfort over skill and fitness.
Pearce has made the right decision to leave Beckham out of the GB Team. Had he included him in the final squad,Pearce's judgement as a manager would be in question. Beckham has rarely shined for England in tournaments and he is not playing a standard of football to change that view.
Yes he was key to bringing the Olympics to London but his reward isn't a place in the team. If it was Van Commenee might as well select Seb Coe for the 800 meters.
If we were talking about the Olympics 4 years ago then he may have warranted a place, but not now.
I do not think there is any reason to include Beckham in the current Olympic choices. In sports circles you are looking for your Best athletes to represent the countryNOT some middle-aged has-been football player.He left England and went to play in America anyway, so NO THANKS
Some years ago,Beckcham's name is all over the place ,everywhere,In my opinion,gone are the good old days,.He made his name in football,Time has come to stay in low profile and give the young and up coming good athletes a break
Really disappointing of GB. Becks is a great guy and should be included for leadership and all the Olympics embodies, besides the fact he still a class footballer.
Olympics is not all about winning. Everybody wants to win? At the end of the day, it is the honour of representing one's country that's counts in Olympics.
Where Olympics is concerned, it is the sportsmanship that counts and winning should not be everything.
Beckham deserved better respect than this considering his efforts in lobbying for the London Olympics.
arceon June 28th, 2012 6:08 pm ET
God love the genuinely stupid.....
Great Britain refers to the largest (or, if you will, Greatest) island of the British Isles, which is where England, Scotland & Wales are situated. It has over the years become the catch-all term for the British Isles, which also include Jersey, Guernsey, Chertsey, the Isles of Man & Wight, the Shetlands, Orkneys and a plethora of islands of Western Scotland. It has not now, nor ever, been used as an adjective to describe how brilliant we think we are.
See, you learn something every day, don't you?
He's had his moments, but it would be a poor thing indeed to select him over those who deserve it more for their efforts on the pitch, rather than off it.
Tom, London won the Olympics based on a bid to transform an impoverished part of the East End, to create the world's first sustainable games and to enrich the wider country with a 'lasting legacy'.
London has a commitment to sell tickets, because so many will argue state money could have been far better spent: try explaining to the kids in the slums of London that, in life, winning is about spending the billions that have been spent so that handfuls of people can watch some sport.
Similarly, Beckham, as the rightful or wrongful icon he is, could have had as important a role in ensuring the legacy mission of these games is achieved, as he had in securing the Olympics for London. Although Britain has a very rich sporting heritage, from experience, I can say that growing up in the UK, most things are about football in particular. Not everybody has golden feet, but what better way to promote the array of sports the Olympics has, and entice the young in to them in the years to come, than to have these athletes and Beckham paraded as equals.
However, perhaps Stuart Pearce was simply advised by the powers-that-be, that Beckham's insistence to jet to-and-through over the Atlantic is simply not conducive to sustainable sport?
Stuart Pearce is well aware of DB contribution towards the Olympics here in the GB. SP is the coach that had considered a number of factors and came to an essentially footballing reasons for his decision.
I think he should be applauded for his decision which was very brave and professional. Anything less, he would have been vilified as a "yes man".
It's not the England team he's been left out of but Team GB BIG difference
What is it w/ you Brits. Arguably the BESt midfielder in the world (one of the top 10 anyway) you peopple left DB out? are you NUTS!!
Chage your minds. He would probably come if you called.
Exactly. This is an exhibition of sporting excellence, and not a popularity contest. The manager of the football team is tasked with one responsibility and one responsibility only. To win. To pick players because they were "liked", would not be doing the job he has been selected to do. To suggest that David Beckham is currently one of the top 3 "over age" players in the entire United Kingdom is a slap in the face of the other players still playing on the isles. If we start picking people to represent us at the Olympic Games because they were good for the country, who is ging to be next ? Elton John and Cliff Richard lining up with the rowing 8 ? Let Becks hand out flowers to the winners of the womens' beach volleyball. He'll be just as happy being on television.
Whaaaaat??? A completely ridiculous article. England are a completely mediocre international side which he is no longer considered good enough to be a part of, regardless of his age. The Olympic team has to combine the best players of four teams, and if he is no longer good enough to get into one of them, why on earth should he be considered?
There is no room for sentiment in international sport. By all means give him a testimonial match against a World XI at Wembley, but anyone who thinks he should be playing in a competitive match just because he had a few good years needs their heads seeing to.
When did deserve start meaning earned?
Don't hate on Beckam for coming to the US. At his age it is likely he would have suffered a career ending injury in Europes brutally competetive league, and he had a chance to elavate soccer, even if only a little bit, in the US. I think it is a shame that he was not picked for the team as the Olympics really don't matter anyway, really, who cares? It is not as if it is World Cup.
In as much as Beckham was the face of the London games,the coach still has the final say,no matter how painful his exclusion from the squad may be.
I don't care the money is over here.
I think he deserve to be in LONDON 2012. He has been for the last 6 years the icon person of this olympics.
Does it surprise me that so many making comments have no idea what they are talking about with this Beckham's too old, Bechams past it? Not really.
We should not expect such people to understand that every competing nation has to nominate so many "Over age players," yes that means players who are past their best.
The question is not whether you want to win or have Beckham but whether you Beckham or another player who is past his best.
The exclusion of Becks, I fell is a miss take, the same made by Man U when they released him to join Real Madrid; They (Man U) still haven't found a right winger/mid-fielder with the range and accuracy of passing that Becks is capable of and the same goes for the National Team...Becks is still a game change and if the recently concluded Euros is anything to go by Team GB doesn't stand much of a chance against the Brazilian Olympic Team who narrowly lost to Argentina couple weeks ago.
So with the early question asked further up in this comment thread, as to whether selection Becks or giving Team GB the best chance of claiming GOLD?; well Becks is the team's best chance of claiming GOLD!
@Grant, There are better central and left attacking mid-fielders in the UK than Becks but name me one attacking right mid-fielder, who has the range and accuracy of passing that Becks is capable of ? This will in no doubt take you the rest of the week so i rest my case!!!
For kick n rush stuff Beckham has passed his prime. The hit n hope strategy is no more his cup of tea.
With experience on his side DB could have lent weight to the young side. Judicious use of Beckham as game-changer through well planned cameos could have been a master stroke.
Hes so handsomeee!
All these comments that Beckham is past his best, obviously didn't watch the European Cup display. The guys, particularly the mid-fielders were the most effective and some of them would be considered "past their best". Like contributor Mockesh stated a Beckham who can pass the ball to an elusive attacker would have given England a fighting chance of making it to the final. It was these incisive passes that put Spain head and shoulders above the rest, plus of course their mathematical knowledge of the importance of triangles. Lilli, however, makes the most compelling case for DB. The BRITS never had a clue about Marketing!
Beckham should be there. If you don't think he makes them better you are wrong. There has to be something said for veteran leadership.
Oh! For goodness sake the British are still on about David Beckham? He's already an OAP in football term and more of a celebrity than a good footballer. I never knew him as a talented footballer like Messi as he's only known for taking free kicks or as the sixth Spice Girls. Quite a hot-tempted boy, recently received one-match ban for kicking the ball at the referee which was intended for a player on the ground, stormed out after being substituted and don't forget he was sent off in the 1998 world cup. I think its best to let Stuart Pearce do his job as Team GB's coach/manager, instead of trying to be the assistant coach. For England to succeed in future major tournaments its time to field young players and stop bringing in over-aged players and stop playing boring defensive game like Chelsea.
Seriously... Age 37, his time has come and gone. Get over it. He may provide leadership, but if the Olympic team is supposed to be the best of the best, ANYONE on that roster should fill that role.
All superb athletes have one more shift, game, season in them. The problem is recognizing and accepting when they are no longer able to compete at the level of their peers.
Does team GB save a position for him where he plays at 90% of his prime for 90% of the time on field, or fill it with a player who can contribute 100% at 100% of the time.
Additionally, does a team automatically qualify a player because of their past stature and performance or do they base it on qualifying for the team. Players who have earned their spot based on their current performance respect their teammates better if they know they earned it the hard way too. No one wants to be the player who can't run with the pack who took a spot away from some one who could. At least no one with class and integrity.
As my old boss challenged me: What have you done for me today?
Don't rest on the laurels of the past. Earn it every day.
The Olympics is the world stage for sport Beckham like it or not is the brightest star in football.Messi may be the best footballer in the world but Beckaham out sells him on every front.To deprive the world of a soccer spectical of this magnitude.All I can say is I hope your right Stuart ...........
Beckham lives and works in USA . That alone should have kept him from UK team. He is ambiguose about his nationality . Besides which he has been out of UK so long he would have to consult with current copaches as to who is an up and coming player.
Davisd please retire
If he is not good enough, then he is not good enough. Does not matter how handsome he is or how popular.
many people say let's give GB a chance to win and omit DB. seriously? when was the last time you watch the GB national team play? taking off DB certainly does *not* improve the chance for GB!!!
for most soccer fans in the world, having DB on the squad increases tremendously the chance for any GB matches being watch! for this reason alone, i would rather have the coach off the squad.
@Greg: It was a tongue-in-cheek comment, you i.d.i. ot.
Last night against the Portland Timbers David scored two goals, one a 30yd stroke of brilliance, plus made passes that resulted in two other goals. All that and he was omitted from the England squad for the Olympics.
Your loss England!
Whether David beckham is in team GB or not won't change the fact that there is very little interest in Olympic football. North of the border in Scotland, one of the countries that make up GB you will be very lucky to find anyone who even wants team GB to win.
If anyone has noticed there are no Scots in this team, thank goodness, because why risk ( even if it is a minute risk) having the four British nation losie their national teams for the sake of a third rate competition.
Are you saying that by dropping Beckam, Britain is going to win the footbal gold medal? I think Beckam would have given the GB team more confidence to compete. However, I dont see Britain going far in the football event. I wish them goodluck.
Hard to believe that he stays here in the US to increase his popularity. I was not even aware that he was still playing on a US team. Which one? I am in Los Angeles and I am not awareof his participation in anything. I think his strategy of not playing in the European "Big Leagues" is a good one if he wants to stay popular in Europe. As for here in the US, I dont believe he has much popularity. Only kids play soccer here and when you ask who the best players are, they never mention Beckham.
I'm not a soccer fan but what has Beckham done lately for the sport of soccer? Beckham is a perfect example of someone who is bigger than the sport. I think soccer will be better off without him. I miss Pele.
I love the gme of soccer, but I am not impress with Beckham and I think he is another over priced player that has seen his playing days. Let the young nd uprising stars support the Nationl Team. I bt seems Beckham ibs always hurt or just does not have the energy to play the sport today. He is better off suppo rating the team nd training his three sons to replace him in Engl and's Nationl sport in upcoming years....Beckham...RETIRE
Who will keep the bench warm?
The UK football Team would be a circus around Beckham all the media would be asking were is he Stuart Pearce and every all the players would be sidelined, and the correct decision was made sideline beckham
I think after all Engalnd football team need YOUNG and talent . Give the young one a break and ahve chance to perform . I think David should just retire and rest or do something good for the country . Groom the young talent or children foundation something like this.
Beckham – the best soccer player/ mid-fielder in the world? You got to be kidding!!
From " the country which invented soccer" , this is a joke right????
I remember from my text books, of head hunters kicking a skull around in a mock soccer game. Surly they were playing the game when the limeys were living in caves, burning peat to keep warm. The only thing they invented was the soccer Hooligans, a disgrace to the world of sport!
Beckham was great at his time ,but today is another day another time and he has been replaced. He is not the best of all time british soccer players in history but at his prime time he made a name to himself . He was the face of soccer then .
but for 2012 Olympic Soccer team the English captain had to select who is in form and who he finds fit for competation . Beckham is too old anyway . He should accept that , participate by sitting on the bench in suport of his country men. " there is a time for every season "
Beckham deserves to be at the Games you Bloody Pommies have a Short memory of how much of himself he has given to to your Country.
I saw him on his visit to Australia the Mother Land not long ago for a Scoccer friendly Game, after the game he took time out to talk& mingle with his fans, he is such a Humble Human Being.
Him being there would inspire the players to no end.
From an Ex. Convict.
May the Best Team Win.
Not a story. Just a washed up celebrity that had his chances. And one ponders: why cant the camera whore be a camera whore? really people!? there are other stories that deserve a ton more attention
Beckham has had his day, and is a rich man for it. It was time to move over and let someone else have a piece of the pie. Frankly, he and his wife's DVB "brand" (how I hate the word!) is old and tired. How about just letting them get on with being people, and not commodities. GB will have plenty of sporting ambassadors, namely those who win gold medals.
LA Galaxy are playing well this season, thanks to their offensive capabilities brought in by Beckham, Donovan, and Keane. Beckham in instrumental in this offense, including a smashing 35 yard goal against Portland Timbers LAST WEEK. He also had a free kick goal that game.
He is still lethal on set pieces, no matter the opponent. That ability on the pitch match with his clear leadership abilities makes him a no-brainer pick for GB. Wrong to snub this still very-capable Englishman.
@arceon Yes, they do still call themselves great. The same way we still call ourselves "United".
Beckham plays football for a U.S. Team and should be welcomed as a U.S. Olympic Team member. Go Team America! The Olympics are more about putting hind seats in arena $eats / selling products and less about the athletes often living at or below the poverty level. Wealthy athletes invited to the Olympics should sponsor at least one other less fortunate Olympian. Speaking of money, mine is on the Mesoamerican civilization called the Olmec's, meaning rubber people, who probably first created the football game...played with rubber balls. However, the American Indian's created lacrosse which IMHO is far better than most athletic games, except for ultimate Frisbee, which was probably created unknowingly by dogs, the American Bulldog most likely. Though English Bulldogs would have us believe otherwise!
BIG MISTAKE!!! Beckham is a leader and would have been able to lift the UK team in doubtful moments. UK obviously doesn't want to win gold.
Nope not at all, he doesn't live here or play for any UK team so why should he?? yeah he used to but so what!!! give it to people that deserve it and play for the country!!
I think Alex Thomas needs to leave the squad selection to the coaches. They know what to look for in building the best squad, not a CNN Sports Anchor. Beckham may be(or have been) one of the best players, but there was something that didn't mesh with the rest of the squad.
I'm glad they didn't choose him, he is always over credited, not a very skillful player, his history in the agmes speak for it very clearly, he is a very lousy player !!!!
The world does not revolved around Beckham. You people seem to think he is so important but guess what he puts his pants on the same way everyone else does. He is NO more important than anyone else in this world.
It's sad the world put more importance on celebrities, and athletes than they do the most important people in their lives. That's family.
Lets get our priorities set straight people, he is only an athlete
Beckham is friends with obama oh like that is a big deal NOT!!!
Anyone in their right mind would NEEVER admit to being friends with a terrorist supported and that is exactly what obama is.
He needs to be removed and fast, maybe thats why beckham was not chosen
Beckham has never been anywhere near a fantastic footballer. He was decent yes but Man United saw more potential in him as an advert for them than a player. Fergie did right when he threw a boot in his face years ago he knew a stuck up person when he saw one.
Over hyped he most certainly is! Apart from half decent crosses he had nowhere near the skill of a vast majority of footballers. He had the looks but lacked the skill seems to sum up the footballers of today.
Pearce got it spot on, well done
Kelvin Keegan was also dropped from the English football team in one of the top soccer events many years ago. I was a very unpleasant thing to do. Now someone did it to Beckham. This is an example of a lack of sportsmanship.
As a semi-retired multiple award-winning journalist, incuding sportswriting, I was appalled at the poorly constructed story about David Becham's not being chosen to represent his country on the team. Although I played soccer in high school, I don't follow the game. Nowhere was it clear as to WHY he wasn't selected. A specific paragraph explaining that to all story readers should have been no lower in the story than the third paragraph. It is, after all, what the story was about. Yet instead the story wanders about with no clear thread or reason for existing other than filling space by the inept writer who simply threw in speculation and quotes from others and failed to construct an informative article - catering instead to those who already were aware of the background. Another poor instance of reporting here in which the "writer" makes the inane assumption that "everybody knows." I didn't, still don't and suspect the same is true for many other readers.
beckham should have retired 3 years ago
Alex Thomas is a sports correspondent and anchor with CNN International, working out of the company’s London office. As well as reporting from the 2009 and 2010 Champions League finals, in Rome and Madrid, Alex has been CNN’s man on the ground at the Wimbledon and French Open tennis Championships, Vancouver Winter Olympics and the football World Cup in South Africa. He has also interviewed world sports celebrities like Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Padraig Harrington, Arsene Wenger, Ji-Sung Park, Michael Ballack and Serena Williams.
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