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Aug 7 16 7:01 PM

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A place to discuss the ongoing Olympic Football Tournaments.

Fiji were on course for a nice story today until that second half happened...
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TheRoonBa

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#1 [url]

Aug 12 16 1:40 PM

I think the lack of responses show the general feeling towards U-23 football. In this case, FIFA has done well to reduce the "threat" a full national team Olympic tournament would pose to the FIFA World Cup. Apart from the smaller countries like Fiji, nobody seems to care much about this tournament.

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#2 [url]

Aug 13 16 5:47 PM

I honestly have no interest in it at all these days. Far rather watch the ping pong or gymnastics. Women's football is OK in Olympics but the problem is simply too many matches for an omnisport event, much like the hockey. Don't need to see also-rans play multiple matches.

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#3 [url]

Aug 14 16 7:10 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
I think the lack of responses show the general feeling towards U-23 football.
Part of the lack of response may have been that I posted a reply to something else in Intercontinental Football right after I created this (stupid I know). The main stories of interest aside from Fiji:
  • Argentina knocked out in Group Stage after 1-1 draw with Honduras
  • Brazil scrape through their group after starting with 0-0 draws against South Africa and Iraq, home fans start chanting for Marta during the second one...
  • Holders Mexico eliminated in Group Stage, losing the game of 'who can score the most goals against Fiji', then just lost anyway to South Korea
  • Nigeria through to Semi-Finals despite barely making the kick-off of their opening match (flight mix-ups or something)
  • In both genders, Germany does what Germany does
  • And between her gamesmanship and her post-match comments, Hope Solo wins the award for least likeable footballer at the Olympics
As for interest levels, I'd say the players actually there are definitely up for it, look at the Honduran celebrations after beating South Korea in their Quarter-Final, also South Korea's reaction to losing (apparently South Koreans get exemption from mandatory military service if they win an Olympic medal). Not to mention that the draw is such that Brazil could meet Germany in the Gold or Bronze Medal Match, although none of the same players will be involved (including #ForcaNeymar, he missed that match don't you know?) the storyline alone is an intriguing one. Hopefully it gives a bit of spice to the Bronze match though, I want to see Honduras go all the way...

But yes, FIFA haven't done enough to cement the men's tournament into the calendar this year, 2012 did seem like a lot more big-name players were involved, now even Jordan Larsson pulled out because his dad wanted him to stay home. They could also do a better job of setting in stone some 'anti-unification guarantee' (rather than just lip service) to put the whole Team GB arguments to bed, ridiculous that the women's team missed out because of this, look at the rugby sevens if any inspiration was needed...

But I can't see football ever not being part of the Olympics, as the world's most popular sport the Olympics would lose a lot of credibility if it was missing, although it doesn't help that football doesn't seem to treat the Olympics with much credibility sometimes...

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#4 [url]

Aug 15 16 7:40 PM

Hope Solo was clearly following the Boubacar Barry school of good sportsmanship.

It may be extreme, but how about holding the Olympic football earlier in the summer, well before the rest of the Games. It already starts before the real Games opens. It also spreads around the country instead of being in the main city of the Games. So really it is fairly detached from the real Games already. Or just replace with futsal or something.

Alternatively, they can take the CAF approach of stubbornly sticking with the nations cup every two years in the middle of the European season. Personally I don't mind as I don't care much for club football.

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#5 [url]

Aug 15 16 9:31 PM

nfm24 wrote:
[...] It may be extreme, but how about holding the Olympic football earlier in the summer, well before the rest of the Games. It already starts before the real Games opens. It also spreads around the country instead of being in the main city of the Games. So really it is fairly detached from the real Games already. Or just replace with futsal or something. [...]
You mean something like in 1928, when the football tournament was held 27 May - 13 June (after the hockey tournament, held 17 - 26 May), while the opening of the Olympic Games was 28 July...

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#7 [url]

Aug 16 16 8:36 PM

nfm24 wrote:
It may be extreme, but how about holding the Olympic football earlier in the summer, well before the rest of the Games. It already starts before the real Games opens. It also spreads around the country instead of being in the main city of the Games. So really it is fairly detached from the real Games already. Or just replace with futsal or something.

Alternatively, they can take the CAF approach of stubbornly sticking with the nations cup every two years in the middle of the European season. Personally I don't mind as I don't care much for club football.
Same here on preferring internationals over club games (although I'd imagine that's the case for most people here), my recently-developed analogy is that club football is bread & butter, and internationals are jam (or filling of choice, maybe marmite given some people's attitudes to it all). Think CAF aren't just being stubborn and are doing it every 2 years for financial reasons, can't all have a madly lucrative club competition to fund your operations.

The Olympic tournament idea, you may have a point there (although I'd suggest there's room to add futsal and beach soccer in the main Olympic schedule considering they just let in skateboarding and surfing), and there is precedent for holding a sport much earlier than the main Games (and in a different country, but maybe it doesn't need to go that far), it's not like many football players usually attend the ceremonies anyway, which is a shame but I guess scheduling gets in the way.

Edit - That equestrian link is what happens when you start a reply but don't come back to it for a couple of hours...

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#8 [url]

Aug 16 16 10:34 PM

Fair point, but if CAF were doing it *just* for money, they would go the CONCACAF route and have their championship in France every year and invite Brazil as guest.

I see no reason not to add more sports to the Olympics if they are reasonably international and they don't cause massive extra expense. Beach and futsal are pretty simple and cheap. Whereas building a new canoe slalom park or a velodrome can be pretty tricky.

And ban swimming. It is utterly ridiculous to have so many medals rewarding the same skill over and over. Just look at the USA medal breakdown and consider how it would look without swimming (or with just one swimming medal per distance).

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,423 Site Admin

#10 [url]

Aug 17 16 10:56 AM

There is already a World Aquatics Championship anyway. And now we will have a World Roller Games and World Beach Games as well. So all the aquatic, roller and beach sports can be cut from the Olympics. Winter Olympics could be done away with as well, as there are already World Skiing Championships, for example, and I think they are having problems finding hosts these days. Pretty much nobody cares about luge, skeleton or bobsleigh.

As far as winter team sports are concerned, ice hockey and curling could be held at the summer olympics, as ice hockey/curling rinks can be used all year round. Ice hockey was held at the Antwerp Summer Olympics in 1920.

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#11 [url]

Aug 17 16 5:35 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
There is already a World Aquatics Championship anyway. And now we will have a World Roller Games and World Beach Games as well. So all the aquatic, roller and beach sports can be cut from the Olympics.
In fairness there's a World Athletics Championship as well, so on thst logic...

nfm24 - Checked the USA's medal count in swimming and you weren't kidding, 16 of their 28 gold medals at the time of writing. Although I will dispute the idea that all swimming strokes are 'the same skill', the butterfly looks like a ridiculously innefficient way of moving through the water, and anyone who can actually do it for more than a few strokes must have some dolphin lineage or something...

However, I can currently get right behind your anti-swimming campaign as striking off all those results puts Great Britain at the top of the medal table...

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#12 [url]

Aug 18 16 10:40 PM

I don't mean to suggest banning all swimming, but it has a disproportionate number of medals available. Multiple strokes over multiple distances + relays. It's basically the same people over and over. It's unnecessary, it doesn't add anything to the Games.

Having multiple stroke disciplines is also redundant in the sense that racing is about being fastest, and some of the strokes are clearly slower than others. So being e.g. the fastest at backstroke is like being the tallest dwarf.

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#13 [url]

Aug 18 16 10:45 PM

Also (if we go down the Abram Jones line for a moment), swimming is obviously a sport where results correlate strongly to facilities and wealth. Almost all elite swimmers are almost full time professionals from very young ages. Indeed in the women's events the physiology of youth seems to be very important. This obviously disadvantages poorer countries more so than sports where genetics (or natural talent if you prefer) are most important e.g. athletics.

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#14 [url]

Aug 27 16 9:07 AM

I (but I presume almost everybody) would prefer an Olympic tournament for "A" National teams, but FIFA will never let this happen, as this may overshadow the importance of the World Cup. Moreover, an Olympic tournament for "A" National teams would need qualifying rounds in all the 6 continents, so more and more international games. For this reason also the most important clubs would surely try to impede it, as they wouldn't want to lose their best players. The result is this "hybrid" that I personally have never loved.
Also, one thing I've never understood: why this "ostracism" towards elderlies? Why don't they allow the Olympic teams to send the Over-35, rather than the Under-23?

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#16 [url]

Aug 29 16 6:26 PM

An important declaration by FIFA's president about the Men's football tournament: "The men's game, which is primarily for under-23 players with a few added, is not a good solution. The tournament is neither fish nor bird in this form. Also, the football calendar is too tight".

I think this is the first step towards the abolition of football at the Olympic Games.



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#17 [url]

Aug 30 16 9:30 PM

Luca wrote:

An important declaration by FIFA's president about the Men's football tournament: "The men's game, which is primarily for under-23 players with a few added, is not a good solution. The tournament is neither fish nor bird in this form. Also, the football calendar is too tight".

I think this is the first step towards the abolition of football at the Olympic Games.

Very unfortunate if it heads that way, the Olympic tournament has much more history than a lot of people realise (try asking a Uruguayan their opinion on the situation), surely some kind of flying fish can be found? It's especially unfair for the women's tournament, as they're often playing in front of crowd sizes and stadiums they don't even get at a World Cup, let alone for their clubs, and if one gender's tournament is not allowed it's sexist to allow the other to carry on, unless football wants to be put in the same bracket as rhythmic gymnastics and synchronised swimming...

As for Infantino's comments on the calendar, I know where he's coming from in terms of how more rest enables more elite-level performance, but at the same time I always find it laughable whenever it's suggested by big clubs, they only ever say it when it relates to a competition that doesn't make them as much money and there are so many examples of minor international tournaments or semi-professional leagues where they play several games a week (in the latter combined with day jobs). If those big clubs were invited to play in a competition that added 30 games to their season but paid as much money as the Premier League, guaranteed they'd find a way to do it.

In the Olympic Tournament this year, I really enjoyed the whole 'competitive but enjoy the experience' vibe of the matches, the attendance figures put it at least on the level of the Africa Cup of Nations or Asian Cup and if the earlier rounds were in smaller stadiums it would have looked a lot more presentable as a major tournament.

I'll actually throw in a rare point in favour of the U23 factor as well (besides being intrigued by the quirkiness of it all), the traditional closing ceremony speech of the Olympics literally calls on "the youth of the world" to gather at the next host city in 4 year's time. Obviously FIFA didn't create the U23 rule out of some idealistic following of Pierre de Coubertin's vision, and Nick Skelton would certainly disagree, but as the only event to put on (semi) age restrictions it is an interesting thing to consider...

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#18 [url]

Aug 31 16 12:47 PM

mattsanger92 wrote:
Luca wrote:

An important declaration by FIFA's president about the Men's football tournament: "The men's game, which is primarily for under-23 players with a few added, is not a good solution. The tournament is neither fish nor bird in this form. Also, the football calendar is too tight".

I think this is the first step towards the abolition of football at the Olympic Games.

 The Olympic tournament has much more history than a lot of people realise (try asking a Uruguayan their opinion on the situation)

Yes, but in 1924 and in 1928 the Olympic Football Tournaments were authentic "World Cups", thanks to the participation of almost all the "A" National teams. Their level and prestige were much higher than now, there's no comparison.
It's just like the history of the Mitropa Cup. In the 1920s and 1930s, it was a very prestigious competition, thanks to the participation of the winners of the Italian, Austrian, Hungarian and Czechoslovakian leagues, that is to say the most evolved football in continental Europe. But from year to year Mitropa lost all its importance. In the last editions only the winners of the second divisions competed.
Mitropa Cup was abolished; I wouldn't be too surprised if also the Olympic football had the same destiny.

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,423 Site Admin

#19 [url]

Aug 31 16 2:56 PM

The only way it would be worth keeping would be if it was for full national teams, and there was a true World Championship every 2 years. This would require combined Continental/World qualification tournaments (which would not be a bad idea), but the Olympic tournament is only 16 teams, and I'm not sure there would be enough time or resources to hold a 32-team Olympic football tournament (unless FIFA helped out in the host in some way).

Women's football manages what is effectively a World Championship every 2 years, as well as continental championships every couple of years, but the women's club football calendar is not so crowded.

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#20 [url]

Aug 31 16 3:57 PM

Women's club football does not have a billion dollar TV/marketing industry calling the shots, so there is no comparison here.

To make the Olympic men's tournament meaningful, the very minimum that is needed is for FIFA to have power over the clubs to force release of players, even during the season.
However the Barcelona-Messi ruling in 2008 has pretty much ruled that out. The path of least resistance then is probably just to move the Olympic football back into the summer before the (Western European) club season. There are obviously major flaws in this but it still seems the least worst idea.

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