viernes, 31 de enero de 2014



By Carlos F.Ramírez


 The first time that “football soccer” was part of the Olympic Games,  was 1900 during the  Second Games of Paris.  However these Games were downgraded as part of the “Universal Exposition of Paris” during 1900.  It included all sorts of cultural and sport manifestations, and was basically a Government organized event where the Olympic Games were invited as part of a long program of different commercial, cultural and athletic events.


Thus there was no official Olympic football tournament, although some sources keep reporting it as part of the Olympic program.  In reality, there were no national teams but a combination of Great Britain, France and Belgium players.  Two games were played, first France defeated 7-4 a combination of France-Belgium players; and then the French team was defeated 4-0 by the “British Club”. Hardly a tournament!


 Something similar occurred in 1904 Games.  They were part of the St. Louis Missouri exposition, a cultural and commercial fair, that accepted to include a “soccer football” tournament between  three  collegial teams: “Gait Football Club” of Canada; , Christian Brothers College” and “St. Rose Parish School” of the USA.

The Canadians won 7-0 and 4-0; and “Christian Brothers” defeated “St. Rose Parish School” 2-0.    The Canadians had Britain origin players, like Ernest Linton (goalkeeper), Robert Lane (Midfielder); and the forwards Alexander Hall and Gordon McDonald, all of them had British leagues experience.


Football was mainly an European game, thus only European teams participated in the next four Games (1908-1920).  But in the 1924 Paris Olympics, before the first World Cup of 1930 in Montevideo  (that would be won by Uruguay), it was the Uruguayan team that won the Olympic tournament surprising everybody by  winning its five matches, scoring 20 goals and accepting only 2. 


By that time, the Europeans kept sending amateur players to the Olympics;  some of the Uruguayan players were called “semi professionals”.  But they were so good that amazed the world of football by the way they won the 1924 Paris Olympic gold medal.  And more so, winning again the 1928 Gold medal, now defeating Argentina in the Final at the Amsterdam Olympics.  


One can understand the confusion when Uruguay organized and won two years after (1930) the first FIFA World Cup championship in Montevideo, Uruguay, once more against Argentina in the Final.  The 1930 FIFA tournament was practically non-amateur, since all participating teams had either professionals or “semi professionals” players. 


Undoubtedly this was the first serious open complication between the difference between professionals or amateurs in world sports.  Specially complicated was for the Olympics to define the difference between “amateurs” and “professionals”.  During more than three decades this created a confrontation between IOC (International Olympic Committee) and FIFA. It would finally be “solved” somehow…in 1964. 

Football torunament at the 1900 Olympics

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