Olympic Disinterest In Football

11 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   July 18, 2012  |     11

Considering the hysteria which surrounded the release of tickets for this summer’s¬†Olympic Games last year, we might have expected that sales for the football tournament would be high. After all, this is a country which loves its football and the idea of a tournament of any description – and it is of course worth bearing in mind the World Cup won’t be coming to these shores any time in our lifetimes and it’s not implausible that the European Championships might not either – being held in this country is an appealing one.

This week’s confirmation that half a million tickets are to be withdrawn from sale, however, isn’t a great surprise, for this summer’s Olympic Games have already created more ill-will than anybody could have imagined send Britain’s involvement in the football tournament has laid bare the fractured political union of a country which seems likely to completely fall to pieces in the fullness of time.

The arguing began as soon as it was announced that a Great Britain team would be appearing in the tournament. There were many different ways in which this team could have been cobbled together and the rights and wrongs of it are not something that we’re going to rake over yet again. We should, however, suffice to say that the decision to play games around the whole of the UK seemed optimistic – why exactly should someone in Cardiff care in the slightest about an Olympic Games being held in London? – while what was perceived as the high-mindedness of the FA in their processes for selecting a coach will likewise have left others cold.

Then, of course, there is a small matter of the timing of it all, falling as close as it does to the start of the domestic season . Pre-season friendly matches have already begun and the Premier League juggernaut will start to loom large on the horizon in the near future. The Premier League is hostile enough to the very concept of international football as things are, and it would certainly be no great surprise to see players start to drop out of the squad with mysterious injuries. Even if this doesn’t happen, though, the attention of many that might have considered themselves interested in going to matches will have been tested by the start of the domestic season. This isn’t something that could have been helped, of course. Few would have expected the Premier League, the Football League or others to suspend or delay their calendar on account of the Olympic Games. It does, however, explain why, when tickets for other events for the games have been in high demand, sales for this event have appeared sluggish.

We should also consider the small matter of the palpably negative feeling that is starting to engulf these entire games. The G4S security issue has pushed this general feeling of grumpiness into the open, but this is merely a manifestation of a phenomenon that has been apparent for some time. From the chaotic-looking way in which tickets for all events were sold, through the over-officious nature of those wishing to protect the apparent “rights” of sponsors (apparently, just being associated with the games isn’t enough any more – if you’re a sponsor you also get to obliterate any competition within driving distance of where the games are being held) and right the way down to the forced installation of surface to air missiles on the roofs of London apartment blocks in preparation for anticipated terrorist attacks, these games are, even for those of us that might have considered ourselves enthusiasts, starting to leave a bad taste in the mouth.

None of this to say, as some have done over the last few months, that the Olympic football tournament is a complete waste of time. For one thing, there is not one Olympic football tournament but two, with the women’s tournament holding a considerably higher level of importance within the women’s game than its male counterpart does. If last year’s World Cup is anything to go by, the competition for these gold medals will be well worth watching, even if we have to put up with the usual sexist nonsense from those for whom testosterone is the be all and end all of sport. Even the much-derided men’s tournament has much to recommend it, with Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani in the squad for Uruguay, David De Gea, Jordi Alba and Juan Mata appearing for Spain and Hulk, Sandro and Thiago Silva in the Brazilian squad. A patchwork Britain side – and just typing that feels weirdly counter-intuitive just to type those words – will surely struggle against any of the strongest teams in the tournament, but none of that is to suggest that this tournament isn’t worth watching. Traditional Olympic ideals may well be a thing of the past and these games may have both literal and metaphorical clouds hanging over them, but ultimately we will likely watch, even if it is with a degree of scepticism.

You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking here.



Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • July 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Sofa Soccer (Rich J)

    I’m somewhat ambivalent regarding the Olympic football. I watched it in 96 when Nigeria beat Argentina and it was genuinely exciting, but it just never caught my attention after that. Even having a GB team in it doesn’t seem to be getting me going…if anything, I’d say the whole saga surrounding it has only served to put me off.
    On top of this, seeing the word ‘Ricoh’ covered up with bin bags over the last few weeks has looked rather tawdry.

  • July 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm


    I am left cold by the whole Olympic Games business, I fear; I’m glad I’m almost 200 miles away from the main centre of activity, but fear that if the event does not make a profit part of the loss will in one way or another be visited on me. That’s my only motivation for hoping the event will be successful. I am also far more interested in club football than in any kind of international football. As such, I won’t be going to or straining any nerve or sinew to tele-watch the tournament. It isn’t disinterest, by the way – it’s complete lack of interest, which is not the same thing.

  • July 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Van "Blanche" Kovacs

    Olympic soccer is the only sport I watch during The Games, so the more the better. Who cares where they play. I suspect the games are concentrated in London because of the extremist morons out there.

  • July 19, 2012 at 10:19 am


    An article on Soccer America yesterday said that only 200 tickets had been sold for the double header at Hampden Park in the women’s tournament next Wednesday (USA v France and Colombia v North Korea in case you were wondering)

  • July 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm


    F*** the Olympics

  • July 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm


    A pedant writes…
    Disinterested = non-judgemental, unbiased
    Uninterested =couldn’t give a sh*t about the Olympics, least of all the football

  • July 20, 2012 at 9:28 am


    Thank you, Annabels. I wanted to make the same point myself, but could not have phrased it as well as you.

  • July 20, 2012 at 11:26 am


    I don’t give a pig’s fart for the Olympics, but I’d be interested in watching the ladies’ fitba. It’s pish but I like its purity. I like to watch two sides which regardless of the result are out on the pitch to play without time wasting or wallowing about screaming “my leg’s been torn off” followed a quick fix of the ‘do and sprinting 100m in 11 seconds.

  • July 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Tim Vickerman

    Hate to burst this negativity but I’m looking forward to the Olympic football. Should be going to the Old Trafford semi final and the double header in Coventry on 1st August. But then I am home for just 2 weeks from Japan and it’s about the only football I can watch thanks to the belated start…caused by the Olympics.

    The ticket prices are admittedly scandalous. Who would’ve imagined it would be difficult to sell Senegal v UAE U23s at ¬£20-40 a pop in Coventry? And I was planning to be positive about it…

  • July 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Soccer Potpourri | OverLapping Run

    […] Olympics: Olympic Disinterest In Football […]

  • July 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Ian H

    I think one of the reasons the footy has not caught the interest is that although this is the olympics, it is not going to be the worlds best out there. For example, the Spain team, although i have no doubt they will be good, will not be Casias, Torres and co who did the business a few weeks ago. Added to that, the other sports are ones that dont get as much prominence at this level in the UK, and you can see why they are selling out quicker. For me, a footy saddo, (2,000 odd games on about 350 grounds)I will pass thanks. However, I have tickets for Hockey and Athletics which I am really up for. Other footy fans I have spoken to feel the same.

Leave A Comment

Also available on…
Socialise With Us