LONDON: Gary Lineker and FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke will conduct the draw for the Olympic football tournament at Wembley on April 24 – the morning after the 16th and final place is settled by an interncontinental play-off between Senegal and Oman in Coventry.
Lineker, former England, Tottenham and Barcelona striker and crisp promoter, is now presenter of BBC TV’s Match of the Day Premier League highlights programme while Valcke will be taking time out from his clearly-expressed concerns over Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup finals.
Present to oversee events will be Zhang Jilong, Chinese chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee for the Olympic football tournaments. Zhang has been acting president of the Asian football confederation ever since predecessor Mohammed Bin Hammam was handed a life ban from football last year over bribery allegations which he denies and is challenging in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Zhang was also director of the Beijing 2008 Sports Department.
Also expected to be present are the Team GB coaches, Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell, along with Andy Hunt, chief executive of the British Olympic Association. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is not expected to fly in.
Olympics matches in both men’s and women’s tournaments will be staged in Cardiff (Millennium Stadium), Coventry, Glasgow (Hampden Park), Manchester United, Newcastle and Wembley.
The squads are a maximum of 18 players and the men’s tournament has an age limit of 23 with each team permitted three over-age players. Only a handful of nations took up the option in Beijing though one manager who did was Sergio Daniel Batista, who guided Argentina to the gold medal.
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