LONDON: Gareth Bale risks being banned for playing for Tottenham while the Olympics are in progress – but only if England's Football Association submits a formal complaint, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Wednesday.
Wales winger Bale was included in the Great Britain squad for the Olympic football tournament but withdrew last month after sufferring a back injury during training.
However, he played for Tottenham, his English Premier League club – and scored a goal – in a pre-season friendly against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the club of former England captain David Beckham, in California on Tuesday.
So far the FA, the organising football authority for a British team managed by former England defender Stuart Pearce and the British Olympic Association have not commented on Bale's involvement against the Galaxy.
However, Blatter said that if FIFA received an official complaint then the 23-year-old Bale could be banned from Spurs duty, including friendlies, until August 12.
Asked about Bale, Blatter told Britain's Press Association: “The principle is that if a club does not release a player then this association can come to FIFA and we will then ban this player during the duration of the Olympics.
“So far nobody came to FIFA to say we should, but it is a possibility we could ban these players if they are not at the disposal of the national team.
“They (the association) complain and then we say let this player go or he cannot play for the club.
“FIFA's position has never been so clear than it is now for the Olympics 2012 and 2016.”Were the FA to act against Bale, it would add to an already tense relationship with London club Tottenham.
The FA were accused of unsettling Spurs by not making it clear early in their search for a new England manager that then Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, the fans' favourite, was not in the running to replace Fabio Capello.
Instead Roy Hodgson, previously in charge of West Brom, got the England job and Redknapp was sacked by Tottenham after they failed to qualify for next season's Champions League.