South East Wales

Olympics football: Craig Bellamy wants anthem respected

Craig Bellamy
Image caption Craig Bellamy will not be singing the national anthem ahead of the match

Great Britain striker Craig Bellamy has called for the national anthem to be respected when they play Uruguay at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

God Save the Queen was booed before England played football against Wales at the stadium in March 2011.

Bellamy, and fellow Welshmen Ryan Giggs, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor have not sung the anthem while playing for GB in the Olympics so far.

But Bellamy said there is no need for non-English supporters to boo it.

"I definitely expect it to be respected, I am not a big fan of that [booing], with any nation their national anthems should be respected all around," said the Cardiff-born Liverpool striker.

"I dislike it immensely as a player [when fans boo an anthem], even when it's my own supporters who dislike a certain group or boo a national anthem, it leaves me very disappointed.

"I am not into that in any sport, not just football.


"Every national anthem, it doesn't matter if it is your worst enemy, it's just one or two minutes and you should be quiet and respect it and that should be the same for everyone."

Dr Martin Johnes, who researches and teaches modern Wales and sports history at Swansea University does not believe there will be any booing.

"It's partly because the hardcore Welsh fans won't be at the game and partly because the audience will be much more diverse than they would normally be at a Welsh football international - a lot of English people and a lot of families as well," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"We won't see the (Welsh) players sing and I think that's right. It's not about whether the players are British or not, it's about the anthem and the fact it's the same for England and Britain.

"For many people it's a conflation of England and Britain and a symbol of English domination."

Team GB manager Stuart Pearce added there is no policy on players singing the anthem.

The match, which is confirmed as a 69,000 sell-out, is the men's first game at the stadium, but the anthem has been observed impeccably at the two GB women's games held there.

Team GB's women kicked off the entire Games last Wednesday when they beat New Zealand 1-0 in the first event of London 2012.

About 30,000 fans have attended each of the Olympic match days in Cardiff so far but today is the first game the stadium has announced a sell-out.


Mexico play Switzerland in the first match at 17:00 BST followed by GB v Uruguay at 19:45 BST in a men's double-header.

Image caption A big crowd will greet Ryan Giggs as captain of Team GB on Wednesday

Spectators have been urged not to bring bags because of the time it will take to search them at the security checkpoints.

Roads around the stadium will be closed from 14:30 BST and open an hour after the second match ends.

Roads that will be entirely closed are Duke Street, Castle Street, High Street, St Mary Street, Caroline Street, Wood Street, Central Square, Westgate Street, Quay Street, Guildhall Place, Golate, Park Street, Havelock Street and Scott Road. Others will be partially closed.

Park and ride facilities will be available for the football and can be accessed by following signs from junction 33 of the M4.

There will also be free coach parking on Edward VII Avenue, and secure parking for bikes in Sophia Gardens.

The closures will also affect bus services in the city centre.

Arriva Trains Wales said Cardiff city centre stations would operate differently when games were being played.

A queuing system may be in operation at Cardiff Central station, and passengers attending matches are advised to allow plenty of time to travel.

Arriva Trains Wales also said its trains would not be able to carry bicycles on match days.

First Great Western said there would be extra capacity providing almost 3,000 extra seats. It is also putting two extra services on after the match from Cardiff Central to London Paddington at 22:55 BST and 23:10 BST.

Victory for Team GB would see them return to Cardiff on Saturday for the quarter-final of the tournament.

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