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Opinion: Reasons Professional Footballers Do Not Participate In The Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sought to allow professional football players to compete in the 1984 Olympics since the importance of an Olympic football competition was dwindling rapidly. FIFA has a long history of association with professional athletes. FIFA, on the other hand, was not interested in hosting a competition that competed with its World Cup. The former FIFA president, Joao Havelange (who was also a member of the International Olympic Committee), refused to comply with the IOC's demands. The issue between the International Olympic Committee and FIFA was resolved by a compromise. In today's world, every national team has an age restriction of 23 years old plus three players who are three years older.

In addition, because preparations for the upcoming season are well underway, league clubs are under no need to send their players to the Olympic Games in Rio. Almost no team in the league is willing to give up their best players for a couple of weeks on their own will. In contrast to official FIFA international matches, when clubs are required to send their players to their respective national teams, this is not the case for club-sponsored international fixtures.

Another factor is a combination of politics and money. The most popular sport on the planet, according to numerous statistics and sources, is football, which has significant economic interests behind each competition. The power and greed of FIFA should not be underestimated, as should the popularity of football in general. The World Cup, which takes place every four years, is a big worldwide event that draws unrivaled media coverage and participation. A large portion of the World Cup's revenue would be captured if the Olympics featured teams and players who were similar to those who compete in the World Cup, as was the case in 2008.

Throughout the years, FIFA made it apparent that it was not willing to give its riches and power, if not actively seek to acquire them from other organizations. It's hard to forget the Toyota Cup, which was held yearly in Yokohama and in which the victor was awarded with a Toyota vehicle. It had been turned into the Club World Cup, which is now held annually in Monaco and is governed by FIFA, and had been renamed.

The Confederations Cup, in which the winning teams from each continent competed, was a tournament that only a small number of those who took part wanted to see. While it simply adds another load to what is already a difficult season for the players, FIFA was determined to make it an eye-catching event and instituted a number of rules to ensure that participants brought their best players and used them on the field. Because of the tragic death of Vivien Foe, who occurred during a game in this tournament, this tendency has slowed significantly. Professional footballers are not permitted to compete in the Olympics as long as they are not part of an official FIFA event, such as the World Cup, Euros, or any of the other tournaments.

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FIFA IOC Joao Havelange Olympics World Cup


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