Olympic football is about more than the game itself
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Every four years the football world goes a little nuts. No, I’m not talking about the World Cup or the Euros, but the Olympics.
Unlike other major football tournaments, tactics and egos don’t dominate discussions instead the validity of the tournament provides ample talking points.
This got me thinking, why do we play football in the Olympics?
Not only is the tournament not run by FIFA, but there are a number of differences that work against traditional football norms.
For example England does not compete as a separate nation opting instead to share their chance at glory with the other nations of the British Isles under the banner of Great Britain.
To add to the mayhem in the men’s draw countries cannot select their strongest squads, instead under-23 squads with three overage players players are fielded.
At first glance Olympic football appears as though it is merely a second rate, unofficial and therefore pointless exercise.
However, it wasn’t always this way.
Prior to the FIFA World Cup the Olympics were the pinnacle of the footballing world, the only major global football competition that allowed nations to field a full squad and unleash the very best of their abilities, today the tournament is a shadow of its former self.
But is this actually bad?
Despite many football fans’ valid confusion about the tournament those very fans are missing something.
Olympic football isn’t about the football.
The Olympics represent the very essence of sportsmanship, of fair play and of never giving up.
The ‘Olympic Spirit’ is hard to put into words but it is a universal concept that has a special, pure place in the minds and hearts of sport fans around the world.
Football is the world’s most popular game and true fans understand the raw emotion that football evokes.
Football at the Olympics is unlike football in any other tournament.
It does not search for the World’s best team and it isn’t really official but what it does do is bring the sport back to its roots, playing for the fun of it and giving it your best shot.
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