KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The International Olympic Committee faces pressures on numbers at the Tokyo Games in 2020 from world football federation FIFA.
Coaches of a number of both men’s and women’s teams complained during the Games in Rio de Janeiro last year that a squad limit of 18 players was insufficient to meet the demands of an intense campaign.
Already the football tournaments at the Games begin before the official Opening Ceremony so as to reach a conclusion within the formal fortnight of Olympic competition.
A formal request for permission to increase squad numbers to at least 20 players is to be sent at the request of FIFA Council following its meeting in Kolkata on the eve of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Final between England and Spain.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “Council is to send a request concerning Tokyo 2020 to the IOC [for football] to have a higher number of players because it is very difficult to have such a tournament, where you play almost every second day, with only 18 players.”
The men’s tournament features 16 teams and the women’s competition 12 teams which adds up to 288 male players and 216 female plus 50 match officials, a total of 554 individuals.
FIFA may be out of luck, even in wanting a minimum extra 56 players. The IOC is already facing heavy pressure over its ceiling of 500,000 athletes as it strives, simultaneously, to introduce more sports to the Games.