"No pressure" on Team GB to pick Beckham, says Coe
Thursday, 17 May 2012
May 17 - Sebastian Coe, chairman of London 2012, has denied that any pressure has been brought to bear upon Stuart Pearce, coach of the Team GB football squad for this summer's Games, to include David Beckham, who will be here at the Panathenaic Stadium for the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony tonight.
Coe also batted away speculation about whether the former England and current LA Galaxy player would be involved in carrying the Torch at any point.
"David (pictured above) has been with us from the beginning," Coe said.
"He was there when the evaluation team came to London, he travelled to Singapore for the bid, he has spent time with our teams.
"Even a few weeks ago he was helping on one of our programmes in Los Angeles.
"It's absolutely right that he should be with us.
"As he so elegantly put it in Singapore – it's his 'hood'.
"We have put absolutely no pressure on Stuart Pearce at all for his inclusion in the team.
"The coach has to be in pole position.
"You can never put pressure on coaches to choose people.
"I wouldn't expect any coach to be operating on any other basis."
Coe (pictured above, right) accepted that Beckham brought a touch of glamour to the London 2012 proceedings, but denied that would make it harder for Pearce to leave him out the team, which can accommodate three players over the age of 23.
"Of course, having David around the Olympic programme is a fantastic thing," Coe said.
"He brings value added.
"But in answer to the question – no.
"Any more than we would be expecting the recall of Steve Redgrave or Daley Thompson.
"It would be ridiculous not to use somebody who has been intimately involved in the whole process and actually rings up on a regular basis to ask if there is anything he needs to know and if there is anything he can do to help us."
On the subject of Beckham taking the Olympic Torch at any point in its journey to the Olympic Cauldron in Stratford, Coe replied: "We actually haven't even started discussing that."
Boris Johnson (pictured above, centre with Coe and Beckham), Mayor of London, said he would like to see Beckham in the Team GB side.
"Of course," he said.
"But that's why I'm not in charge of the football team."
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, added: "You can't have a sentimental moment and pick somebody because it would be nice for the front page of the newspapers.
"It's just not the way this process works.
"It would be lovely to see David Beckham at the Olympics but he has to be there on merits of his own performance and nothing else."
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