Football and the Olympic Games have a very complex relationship.

The most titled team here is the USA, which has won four gold medals. Hungary is next with three gold medals. Great Britain has the same (exactly, not England). The top scorer in the history of the Games tournaments is also Hungarian, Antal Dunai. How did it happen?

Probably, the whole point is that football is one of the few sports where the “gold” from the Games is not the highest achievement: victories at the world championships, Europe, and the America’s Cup are valued much higher. Before the 1930 World Cup, it was the Olympic tournament that was the main football competition. However, due to the ban on professional participation, Olympic football has gone into the shadows as well as betting on it. The ban was completely lifted only in 1992, however betting did not gain its popularity back. At the same time, there is an age limit for football players at the Games: each team must have no more than three players over 23 years old. Due to the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, the qualification was increased to 24 years.

Why do top footballers often not participate in the Olympics?

Just thoughts: Werner, Havertz, Sane and Gnabry could play for Germany. For France – Mbappe, Pogba and Kante. For Egypt – Salah and Elneni. Why aren’t there? The bets would skyrocket if they participated. And there are several reasons.

First, the personal reluctance of clubs to let go of their leaders. In the community, the Games are a minor international tournament, where teams rarely send their leaders.

Secondly, UEFA and FIFA do not pause international matches and leagues during the Games. Yes, this fact partially overlaps with the previous one, but for many footballers it is more important to play for their clubs / major teams than for the national teams. That’s why main tournaments are more popular for placing bets.

Thirdly, there is a certain clause in the regulations that prevents the national teams from filling their teams with stars. Only footballers born later than January 1, 1997 are allowed to play at the 2020 Olympics. Three exceptions are allowed per application. So, for example, Gignac and Tauvin will go to the Games.

Fourth, victories at the Games are hardly valued in football. Spanish coach Luis de la Fuente said: “The Games are a showcase for young footballers. Middle-aged players are needed to keep up the spirits. But the youngsters have real chances to show themselves to the top clubs – that’s why the football tournament is held at the Olympics ”.

Is it possible to place bets on these matches?

Yes, you can bet on matches at the Olympics as well. Matches at the Olympics aren’t very popular because big football stars often do not take part in them. But if you want to see really epic matches you better bet on regular  tournaments like Champions League and others.