How is the FIFA World Cup different from Olympic Football?

How is the FIFA World Cup different from Olympic Football?

FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in football, but the Olympics is a matter of prestige for all sports, especially athletics. However, the Olympics is not as exciting for a football lover as FIFA is and the reason is obvious. It is all football at FIFA but the focus is not so sharp on this game in Olympics.

FIFA World Cup and Olympic Football are two very important events that any footballer dreams to participate in. However, the attitude towards the two remains a bit different. FIFA and Olympic football differ on many points. For a footballer, FIFA is more important than Olympic participation. So, you may find many key players missing the Olympics. Let’s explore other points of difference between the two.

  1. Different calendars

FIFA and the Olympics have different calendars. Olympics typically is played two years before the FIFA. But, clashes between Winter Olympics and FIFA are quite possible. It is when the teams may choose to skip the Olympics if the other tournament is going on. The availability of the athletes in the Olympics is certain but the footballers may not be present for the same always.

  • Qualifying age of the footballer

Apart from the pre-occupation in FIFA, age restrictions are also responsible for the key players’ absence from the Olympic Football. Olympics has a peculiar condition that stipulates that a team cannot have more than three players aged above 23. It is, therefore, seen as Under 23 World Cup jokingly among the ardent football fans. Key players like Neymar were forced to stay out of the Olympics due to this age restriction.

  • Number of teams participating

The World Cup stands by its name because of the number of teams it allows to participate. While FIFA manages a whooping number of 32 teams in the tournament, the Olympics are open only to 16 teams of men’s football and 12 teams of women’s football. Thus, the spectators may find their favorite team not among the contenders.

  • Size of the team squad

If we talk about the burden on the team members, the Olympics may turn out to be more strenuous. This tournament allows teams to have only 18 players. However, in Olympics, the countries can send 23 players in the squad. As a result, entering in Olympics becomes tougher for various players. Sometimes, old players give way to young ones to display their talent.

  • Lengthier period of FIFA

FIFA World Cup is played for months. There is an elaborate round of 16 before the actual knock-offs start. The spectators don’t feel FOMO much if they miss any action from the round of 16. But, the Olympic Football has to wrap up within the Olympics’ schedule. Hence, if spectators did not follow the Olympic Games regularly, they may not have much to enjoy in total. Entertainment goes unleashed in case of FIFA because of that round of 16 factors.

  • No Group of Death in Olympic Football

The term ‘Group of Death’ is not applicable in Olympics. It is the group where one of the groups made has very strong contenders. The players of that group are often found saying that it is going to take their all to emerge victorious from that arrangement of teams. This stacking feature is missing in the Olympics because of the absence of the Round of 16 arrangement.

  • FIFA World Cup is an only men’s tournament

The FIFA World Cup is not open to women players as yet. It has 8 groups in which senior men contend for the coveted title. This is not the case with the Olympics. In the latter, the 12 teams of women contend with each other; women’s football is an important discipline here.

  • No Extra time in Olympic Football

A match can end in a draw in any sport including football in the Olympic tournament. But, FIFA declares a definite winner. If the scores tie, extra time is provided in the FIFA World Cup. This extra time is not the provision in the Olympic tournament. If extra time also ends in a tie, a penalty shoot decides a clear winner in the FIFA World Cup.

  1. The difference in revenues generated for football teams

Since FIFA is entirely a football tournament, the clubs and the association make humongous earnings from sponsorships, TV rights, etc. Though the viewership of the Olympic Tournament is higher, the undivided focus on football fetches the players much more earnings while playing the FIFA World Cup as compared to Olympics.

  • Different ways of felicitation

The way the winners are awarded forms another point of difference between Olympic Football and the FIFA World Cup. In the Olympic tournament, the players have conferred the medal. On the other hand, we all have fabulous memories of the Cup presentation and ensuing celebration when the winning team is felicitated with the coveted trophy.

  • Different TV viewership

In terms of TV viewership, FIFA World Cup lags. Since the Olympic tournament has different disciplines which may interest a larger audience, it earns comparatively higher TV viewership. According to one TV channel’s data, the viewership of Olympic was 3.6 billion in one of the editions while that of the FIFA World Cup was 3.2 billion. Many times, the audience is divided into football-loving and other nations. The passion for football determines any country’s viewership too.

  • Deep emotional connect with the football players

Football players earn more loyal fan base and have more emotional connect which FIFA participation earns for them. While in the Olympics Tournament, the fans may not feel that connected with the football players. Many fans remember their favorite players’ performance in the FIFA World Cup more lovingly as compared to the one given in the Olympics.


The world cup 2022 prediction is the first choice of any football betters. When compared to Olympic Football, it turns out to be more exciting for the teams as well as spectators. Apart from the remunerations and rewards, these tournaments differ in formats, deciding the winner and schedule. Various restrictions take over the talent in Olympic Football, which dilutes the interest of the footballers in this tournament sometimes.