The Argentine hockey player filmed training on the Falkland Islands in a controversial video that caused a furor in Britain last week has been dropped from Argentina’s final Olympic Games warm-up event.
Fernando Zylberberg, a 34-year-old midfielder who has captained Argentina, was not included in the 18-man squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia posted on the Argentine Hockey Confederation website.
The other teams participating in the six-nation tournament from May 24 to June 4 are the hosts, India, Pakistan, South Korea, New Zealand and Britain.
A veteran of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, Zylberberg was in the Argentina side that qualified for London as Pan-American champions last year and his absence in Malaysia does not mean he is definitely discarded for the July 27-Aug.12 Games.
The Argentine state-supported television advertisement aired in the run-up to the London Games and featuring Zylberberg was branded by Britain as “tasteless and insulting.”
It shows Zylberberg running past symbolic landmarks on the Falklands, the South Atlantic islands over which the two countries fought in 1982, and exercising on the steps of a war memorial to British soldiers.
It ends with the voiceover: “To compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil.” Argentina claims sovereignty over the islands it calls Malvinas.
The Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) issued a statement on Tuesday distancing itself from the advertisement.
“Using the Olympic Games to make political gestures of any kind is not acceptable and we will conduct ourselves in the proper spirit of Olympism in all that we do in London and elsewhere,” COA president Gerardo Werthein said.