Scudamore open to Olympic lessons

No sooner had the Games finished on Sunday than unfavourable

comparisons were being drawn between footballers and the sportsmen

and women who contributed to Britain’s most successful Olympics for

more than a century.

The debate is also going on within football but, speaking at the

Premier League launch in Manchester, Scudamore was keen to focus on

the similarities between the two.

He said: “The Olympics is the biggest show on earth, you’d have

to be living in a cave not to catch the excitement of it.

“But when have we spent ?9billion on hosting an event in this

country? This is the largest event in the world, and it’s happening

in London, which is one of the most iconic cities in the world. It

was always going to be fantastic.

“But I’m also very proud of what football is and what the

Premier League is, and we’re very well respected around the

world.

“You just knew, as sure as night follows day, that people were

going to be saying, ‘Oh look at those Olympians who’ve gone through

all this training and dedicated themselves to their sport and their

mum and dads have taken them to training, compared to

footballers’.

“So footballers just woke up one morning and were brilliant

professional footballers? They’ve also done the training, done the

hard work, the sport science, who’ve also got fantastic

coaches.

“We’ve got the parents who’ve taken their kids back and forth.

So, whilst there are differences, there are also huge

similarities.”

The atmosphere of positivity surrounding all aspects of the

Olympics has been seen as the biggest success story to come out of

the fortnight, and that is where Scudamore believes comparisons are

unfair.

He said: “People love their football in this country, but does

everybody love it? No. It’s easier to unify behind some of the

athletic performances because there isn’t that anti feeling.

Football polarises opinion.

“But fair play to the athletes and the organisers, we can look

at that, we can admire, we can envy bits of it, and we can try to

emulate some of that in our own sport.”

One thing Scudamore has no doubt about is that the Premier

League will continue to capture people’s imaginations around the

world when the 21st season kicks off on Saturday.

He added: “It’ll be back on Saturday, and it will have its

critics, but it will have more people following it, there’ll be

more debate in workplaces on Monday morning, and it’ll be football

again.

“The test will come on a cold February weekend, how many people

are talking about Premier League football and how many people are

talking about one of the more remote medal performances from the

Games.

“But the great thing about the Olympics is how it has raised a

lot of people’s hopes and aspirations about sport generally.”

Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck hit back at

the characterisation of footballers as poor role models compared to

Britain’s Olympians.

The 21-year-old said: “There’s going to negatives but I think

that’s something you have to deal with in everyday life. I think

the majority of footballers are very well behaved and very

professional.”