David Beckham's hopes for participating in the Olympics have cleared the first hurdle.
Team Great Britain manager Stuart Pearce has narrowed down his long initial list of candidates for his 18-man roster down to 80, with Beckham, Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy and Joe Cole being among the other players whose names have been released. Pearce will cut that list down to 35 by June 8 before submitting his final roster by July 6.
It has long been a foregone conclusion that Beckham would be one of the three over-age players on Team Great Britain, considering his role in helping London secure the Olympics and his expressed desire to be a part of the team. His recent form and nagging injuries had caused some to ponder whether the 36-year-old Beckham's place on the Olympic squad was as secure as previously thought, though, but at the very least he remains on track for a trip to London this summer after Pearce's first cut.
Something else that plays into Beckham's favor is that any English players participating in Euro 2012 will not be in contention for the Olympic roster.
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READING WINS PROMOTION
Reading is returning to the Premier League.
After a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, the Royals clinched one of the League Championship's two automatic promotion spots to England's top flight, ensuring their place in the Premiership for the first time since 2008.
Reading has won 15 of its last 17 matches to make a charge into first place, and they lead second-place Southampton by three points with two matches to go. Southampton is in the driver's seat for the second automatic berth in the Premier League, five points clear of West Ham.
As it stands now, the Hammers, Birmingham, Blackpool and Cardiff City will compete in the playoff for the final promotion spot, though Middlesbrough and Hull City are still mathematically alive.
2009 UCL REF ADMITS MISTAKES
Tom Ovrebo, referee of the controversial UEFA Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Barcelona, has admitted his mistakes during the second leg, in which he repeatedly denied Chelsea penalties despite legitimate claims.
"Everyone who knows the laws of the game knows I should have done things differently, but that's the life of a referee," Ovrebo told The Times (UK).
Ovrebo acknowledged that he still gets hate mail and death threats to this day despite being retired.
Barcelona went on to win that semifinal tie after a late Andres Iniesta goal, denying Chelsea a place in the final against Manchester United for the second straight year.
GUTIERREZ DONE AT RACING
Talented striker causes drama in the locker room after his latest irrational act. No, it's not Mario Balotelli. It's Racing Club of Argentina's Colombian striker Teo Gutierrez.
Gutierrez reportedly pulled a paintball gun on his teammates in the locker room following a game over the weekend. His teammates were livid at him for picking up an unnecessary red card — his second ejection of the young season — that left them with nine men for the final 21 minutes of their loss to Independiente, and he reacted accordingly.
Gutierrez, who has a history of bad behavior, has been cast away by Racing, with the club's president saying that he will no longer be a part of the team. The 26-year-old forward joined Racing a little more than a year ago from Turkish side Trabzonspor and has been a part of the Colombian national team set-up as well.
Think it's a no-brainer that Beckham will make the final Team GB squad? What do you make of Reading getting promoted? Think Ovrebo was the main culprit in Chelsea not making it to the 2009 UCL final? What's your take on the Gutierrez situation?
Share your thoughts below.