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The football at the 1920 Summer Olympics, was one of the 154 events at the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Antwerpmarker. It was the fifth time football was on the Olympic schedule. The tournament was contested by 14 teams, with host country Belgium winning the gold medals. Spain won silver, while the Netherlands won bronze medals.



14 teams entered the competition which was organized on a knockout basis. 12 teams entered the first round, with the 6 winners joining the host nation (Belgium) and France, in the quarter-finals.

Perhaps the most far-reaching of the results was that which saw Norwaymarker defeat Great Britainmarker in the first round. The British delegation were concerned with the rise in 'professional' opponents within the international game. As Bernard Joy in Association Football (1960) was to write: "Out of pocket experiences were paid far in excess of the reimbursement for hotels and travelling. ... [Payments] for time lost from work, were made for playing and training, and teams were taken off for intense preparation together. Whatever the reason or excuse, thinly-veiled professionalism was rampant." Ironically Norway were not a professional side. The complaint was, however, clearly addressed at a growing trend within the game.

Czechoslovakia, participating in their first international tournament, cruised to the final, inflicting heavy defeats on Yugoslavia, Norway, and France. Belgium beat a talented Spain and then the Netherlands on their way to the final. The final stages of the tournament decended into farce. Belgium won the gold medal by default afterCzechoslovakia walked off in protest during the final, unhappy with the performance of the Englishmarker referee, John Lewis. As a result they were disqualified and a second consolation tournament was organised to decide the silver and bronze medallists. However beaten semi-finalists, France, had already returned home, so the beaten quarter-finalists played-off for the right to play the other beaten semi-finalist, Holland. Spain emerged triumphant overcoming Sweden 2-1 , Italy 2-0 and then Holland 3-1 in the silver medal final.


First round




The final was highly controversial and remains the only occasion in which an international final has had to have been abandoned.Belgium was awarded the gold medal by default afterCzechoslovakia walked off the field in the 40th minute of the final when Czech left-back Karel Steiner was ejected.

They were unhappy with the performance of the 65 year-old Englishmarker referee, John Lewis, as well as the English linesmen, Charles Wreford-Brown and A. Knight, who had allowed a contentious second Belgian goal in the 28th minute that Henri Larnoe had converted.

Lewis had already refereed the Belgian semi-final victory over the Netherlands, a match observed by the Slovaks (it had taken place on the same day and in the same stadium as their own victory against France).

The Slovaks protested the result of the final. Their protests, translated from the original French, were as follows:

1. We were allocated an English linesman, which is in contradiction with the rules which state that each participating nation has the right to one of both linesman. This violation of the rules was prejudicial to us during the game, because the English linesman was not impartial and this is why we seek the cancellation of the match. Immediately after the game we brought this notice to the attention of M. Rodolphe Seeldrayers.

2. The majority of the decisions of the referee Mr. Lewis were wrong and it was obvious that it gave the public the wrong impression about our game. Also both Belgian goals were the result of incorrect decisions of the referee and we seek a rigorous investigation on that point.

3. During the match, Belgian soldiers were introduced to the crowd until they circled the pitch and because of their provocative presence our players were unable to play their normal game. As a result of the very regrettable incident at the end of the match when there was a pitch invasion lead by the soldiers and our national flag was insulted we will not participate until we have received an apology from the (Belgian) soldiers.

Czechoslovakia's protests were dismissed, and after much debate, they were disqualified from the tournament.

Consolation first round

Consolation semi-final

Consolation final


Gold Silver Bronze

Coach: Raoul Daufresne

Coach: Francisco Bru


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