Soccer and the Olympics are giving us wonderful stories, like tiny Honduras standing up to mighty Brazil. (And, yes, even in Olympic soccer, Brazil qualifies as the “mighty,” never mind if the Samba kings have never won the doggone thing.)
But as we know, soccer and the Olympics have always shared a complicated relationship, and there are plenty of ninnies around the current tournament doing their part to keep it that way.
Arsene Wenger, of all people, a smart and worldly man in many ways, took a pooh on the Olympic tournament when he said it wasn’t a “real football tournament,” and that “for me the Olympics is for track and field basically.”
So much for local hospitality and statesmanship.
And the power-suit politics careening around the Olympic tournament have been off-putting, too, with plenty of self-important sentiments on all sides. For instance, the Scottish Football Association has been in a huff over this thing all along. This is from the Guardian’s Paul Hayward and his look at the sorry state of things.
The Scots have concealed their loathing for the Team GB concept behind this constant fretting about their place at the international table. Worse, by leaning on Scottish players to not take part, they have displayed contempt for the ambitions of individuals who may just like to tell their grandchildren they played in the Olympics. It was painful to see [England manager Stuart] Pearce having to tip-toe round the sensibilities of people who value their own role on committees more highly than the right of young players to pursue this one‑off opportunity.