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The 2024 Summer Olympics will be hosted by Paris, the capital of France, who take the baton handed over by Tokyo, whose ‘2020 Olympic Games' were hosted a year later, in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background to football in the Olympics
Men’s football was first played at the Olympic Games back in 1900, when Paris were the hosts. This was when the Olympic Games was an amateur festival of sport, with professionalism only being permitted in 1986.
The Olympics won’t see the biggest and best names in action across the various French stadiums to be utilised next summer, but that has more to do with the unique rules that apply rather than the competition's reduced standing in the world of football.
Unlike the other main tournaments which are very much senior stages, the Olympics is different. In the 2024 Olympic Games, for men and women, the respective football squads must be made up of players aged 23 or under or born on/after 1 January 2001.
The caveat to come with this is that three overage players are permitted for each squad, which can only be made up of 18 players, again signalling another difference to the senior international tournaments.
For some nations, it means this platform becomes a staging ground to bring a team together, gaining experience in preparation for a bigger international tournament to follow.
Football in the Olympics: Past winners
In the Men’s edition, Brazil is currently the most successful nation with seven gold medals whilst the Women’s tournament has been won the most by the USA, with four victories since it was first introduced in Atlanta in 1996.
Down through the years, the men’s tournament has been graced by the likes of Ferenc Puskás in 1952, Lev Yashin in 1956, Kanu in 1996, Samuel Eto’o in 2000, Lionel Messi in 2008, and Neymar in 2012 and 2016.
Nwankwo Kanu with his Olympic gold, 1996. pic.twitter.com/Mg5bNCUnaE
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) October 17, 2023
Football in the Olympics: Men's winners
Olympic Games: Gold-Silver-Bronze
Tokyo 2020 Brazil – Spain – Mexico
Rio 2016 Brazil – Germany – Nigeria
London 2012 Mexico – Brazil – South Korea
Beijing 2008 Argentina – Nigeria – Brazil
Athens 2004 Argentina – Paraguay – Italy
Sydney 2000 Cameroon – Spain – Chile
Atlanta 1996 Nigeria – Argentina – Brazil
Barcelona 1992 Spain – Poland – Ghana
Seoul 1988 Soviet Union – Brazil -West Germany
Los Angeles 1984 France – Brazil – Yugoslavia
Moscow 1980 Czechoslovakia – East Germany – Soviet Union
Montreal 1976 East Germany – Poland – Soviet Union
Munich 1972 Poland – Hungary – Soviet Union/East Germany
Mexico City 1968 Hungary – Bulgaria – Japan
Tokyo 1964 Hungary – Czechoslovakia – Germany
Rome 1960 Yugoslavia – Denmark – Hungary
Melbourne 1956 Soviet Union – Yugoslavia – Bulgaria
Helsinki 1952 Hungary – Yugoslavia – Sweden
London 1948 Sweden – Yugoslavia – Denmark
Berlin 1936 Italy – Austria – Norway
Amsterdam 1928 Uruguay – Argentina – Italy
Paris 1924 Uruguay – Switzerland – Sweden
Antwerp 1920 Belgium – Spain – Netherlands
Stockholm 1912 Great Britain – Denmark – Netherlands
London 1908 Great Britain – Denmark – Netherlands
St Louis 1904 Canada – Christian Brothers College (USA) – St. Rose Parish (USA)
Paris 1900 Great Britain – France – Belgium
Football in the Olympics: Women's winners
Olympics Games: Gold-Silver-Bronze
Tokyo 2020 Canada – Sweden – United States
Rio 2016 Germany – Sweden – Canada
London 2012 USA – Japan – Canada
Beijing 2008 USA – Brazil – Germany
Athens 2004 USA – Brazil – Germany
Sydney 2000 Norway – USA – Germany
Atlanta 1996 USA – China – Norway
Who will play in the football tournament in the 2024 Summer Olympics?
As in Tokyo 2020, 16 nations will contest the Men’s tournament whilst for the Women it will be 12.
The qualification process is quite different as there is no singular qualifying tournament or equal access but instead, as agreed by FIFA, the distribution of places is determined by the following competitions, in addition to France as the host nation.
Football in the Olympics: Men's teams
Qualified so far: France, USA, Dominican Republic, Spain, Israel, Ukraine, Morocco, Egypt, Mali, New Zealand. Six more teams TBC.
Host nation: France.
The 2022 CONCACAF U20 Championship was played earlier this summer in Honduras with the USA and Dominican Republic taking the two Olympic berths.
The 2023 UEFA Euro U21 Championships took place in Georgia and Romania around the same time. Three spots were available with those being won by Spain, Israel and Ukraine.
The U23 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco saw Egypt and Mali qualify for the Olympics, while the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament was won by New Zealand.
The U23 AFC Asian Cup will not take place until next year which will determine three more participants. CONMEBOL will have a qualifying tournament with two places up for grabs and there will be a playoff for the final spot between representatives of AFC and CAF.
Football in the Olympics: Women's teams
A similar international distribution happens for the women's edition.
As well as the hosts France, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Colombia have booked their places, leaving another seven spots to be filled.
🇿🇦 Banyana legend Janine van Wyk will retire after the 2024 Olympic qualifiers against 🇨🇩 DRC.
— Lorenz Köhler (@Lorenz_KO) October 16, 2023
What stadiums will host the football tournament in the 2024 Summer Olympics?
There will be a good geographic spread of the host stadiums across the nation of France with seven venues to be used, including the home of Paris Saint-Germain, the Parc des Princes.
Football 2024 Olympics: Stadiums
|Parc des Princes||Paris||47,929|
|Stade de Marseille||Marseille||67,394|
|Stade de Lyon||Lyon||59,186|
|Stade de Bordeaux||Bordeaux||42,115|
|Stade Geoffroy-Guichard||St Etienne||41,965|
|Stade de Nice||Nice||36,178|
|Stade de la Beaujoire||Nantes||35,322|