5 FAQs about football at the Olympics

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With the Tokyo Olympics knocking at our doors, we are eagerly looking forward to a different yet similar format of international football. When it comes to Olympics, there are some small little changes to the traditional ways. We’ve come across some questions always and here we’ll answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions about Olympics Football.

Q – Why is the men’s competition limited to under 23 players only?

A – Football has exploded to become one of the biggest sporting events worldwide. Eager to ensure the World Cup remains the biggest football competition around, FIFA purposedly blocked footballers from competing at the Olympics.

In 1984, these rules were further relaxed so that amateurs, who had had never featured at a World Cup could play. Then in 1992, footballers under the age of 23 were allowed to compete at the Olympics. Lastly, in Atlanta 1996, three over-23 players in each team. This rule stays as is till now. This year the rules have been relaxed a little due to the pandemic. Players under 24 who could have been selected a year ago had the Games not been suspended, can compete now.

5 FAQs about football at the Olympics
Q – Why can clubs block players from competing?
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A – When Egypt tied their Olympic hopes to Mohamed Salah, Liverpool disagreed to free him of his club duties. Olympic Games aren’t a part of the FIFA calendar. Thus, clubs aren’t bound by any rules to release players. Clubs often tend to understand a player’s responsibilities towards his nation and allow them to leave. Although they aren’t under any obligation to do so.

Q – Why do the shirts feature flags instead of badges?

A – The International Olympic Committee has a set of rules regarding the uniforms worn at the games. The jersey can only feature a symbol of the country and the supplier. This means teams never use the same badge as the regular national team. Either national flags or team emblems are used. Even Adidas isn’t allowed to include their trademark three stripes on any kits.

5 FAQs about football at the Olympics
Q – Why don’t coaches win medals at the Olympics?

A – Olympic medals are meant only for the participating and winning athletes. This excludes the coaching staff. But then again it doesn’t stop them from getting a medal. Rogério Micale who coached Brazil to their 2016 Rio Games victory, has a replica gold medal as a memento of his achievement.

Q – Why does the football start before the opening ceremony?
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A – The Olympics are held in a span of only 2 weeks. This is way small a timeframe to fit in an entire football tournament. The tournament includes 26 women’s matches and 32 men’s matches. Then again travelling to play in various cities to fulfil their fixtures also take a lot of time. Thus football starts earlier.

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