There is a bit of debate happening around which sports should and should not be included in the Olympics, particularly football. Let’s go down the rabbit hole!
Beau Dure, a Guardian freelancer, writes in: “I actually wrote for Soccer America that women’s soccer no longer needs the Olympics and would be better off emphasising continental tournaments, including what I’m calling the AAA – Americas, Africa, Asia.
“Sports that have long-established competitions that are bigger than their presence in the Games should really try to do something different to make their Olympic competitions unique. How about mixed team golf and tennis events?
“But the mistake people make is thinking that a sport that isn’t big in their country must not be big anywhere. The USA! USA! USA! doesn’t go wild for canoe/kayak slalom. But when I covered it in Beijing, the press tent was overflowing. I think half of Eastern Europe was there.”
Joel Eley writes in and says this: “Solution for football is to replace it with futsal. Easily done. I also think the Olympic sports should be where it is one of the top achievements in that sport, so no football or golf for me, and cannot understand why they are so against netball being included.”
Scott thinks a quick game is a good game: “Olympic football should consist of penalty shoot-outs ONLY! Thrilling to watch and over quickly! Yes!”
Another tweeter called VoiceOfTheMysterons offers a slightly more outlandish suggestion: “Continuing the theme of new Olympic sports, and as a means of attracting even *younger* viewers and competitors, how about Pin The Tail On The Donkey, Musical Statues and What’s The Time Mister Wolf.”
Shall we consult the experts? Jonathan Liew writes this: “This, perhaps, is the biggest problem with Olympic football: a problem that feels specific to men’s football, but may in time come to subsume the women’s game too. Nobody really seems to know what it is: a development competition, a star vehicle, a sideshow knockabout.”
Read his full piece.