Injured Bale out of Olympics
London - Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh winger Gareth Bale is set to miss out on a place in the Great Britain Olympic football team after suffering a back injury in training.
Bale, who turns 23 in July, is keen not to aggravate the problem further with the Olympic football tournament coming just before the start of the new Premier League season.
Spurs' opening Premier League game will be against Newcastle United on August 18 and, with that in mind, Bale is believed to have told GB Olympic team coach Stuart Pearce that he does not wish to be considered for selection.
Bale - who this week signed a new four-year contract with Spurs - had previously made little secret of his desire to represent GB at the Olympics, and last year risked the wrath of the Welsh FA by posing in a British Olympic team shirt without their permission.
The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish FAs have been vocal in their opposition to providing players to a British team since the Games were awarded to London, although the Welsh have long been resigned to a number of their players taking part.
Bale had been held up as a likely star turn for Team GB, and his absence will come as a further blow to fans already shocked by Pearce's controversial decision to omit former England captain David Beckham from his squad.
His absence means it will instead fall to Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy - who along with Micah Richards are set to comprise the three over-age players in the squad - to lead the Welsh contingent in Pearce's 18-man selection, which will be formally unveiled on Monday.
Team GB have been drawn in Group A at the London Games with Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates.
Pearce's side begin their campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26 before playing the UAE at Wembley on July 29 and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on August 1.