Wednesday 20 March 2024, 20:25

Paris gives 2024 Olympic Football Tournaments “special feel” says FIFA President

  • Gianni Infantino notes French capital has “unique place in the history of football” as birthplace of FIFA in 1904

  • FIFA President expects Women’s Tournament will build on FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ success

  • Men’s Tournament kicks off on 24 July; Women’s Gold Medal Match played after Men’s for first time on 10 August

The Paris 2024 Olympic Football Tournaments will have “a special feel”, because of the French capital’s “unique place in the history of football” as the birthplace of FIFA, the FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said at the Men’s and Women’s group stage draw. Paris will become only the second city to stage three Olympic Games this summer, and it also boasts another historic milestone in its sporting pedigree having provided the setting when FIFA was founded by the national associations of seven countries exactly 120 years ago in 1904. “Paris holds a unique place in the history of football,” said Mr Infantino in a video message broadcast during the draw, which was held at Paris 2024 headquarters and broadcast live on French TV on 20 March 2024. “FIFA was born in Paris 120 years ago, which gives these Olympic Football Tournaments a very special feel.”

The Men’s tournament features 16 nations with squads comprised of U-23 players and three over-age players. The 12 countries competing in the Women’s tournament have no age restrictions in terms of player selection, meaning fans in the seven stadiums used across France – in Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, and Saint-Étienne – will see some of the players who stole the show at the record-breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. While the Men’s tournament will kick -off on 24 July – two days before the Games’ opening ceremony – the exponential growth in popularity of the women’s game has been recognised. For the first time, the Women’s Gold Medal Match will be played after the Men’s, bringing down the curtain on the Olympic Football Tournaments at the Parc des Princes in Paris on 10 August.

“Spain, who won the latest FIFA Women's World Cup, will be making their first Olympic appearance, in a tournament that I'm sure will follow in the footsteps of last year's success in Australia and New Zealand,” said Mr Infantino. “We'll see you in Paris and across France from the 24th July because, let's not forget, as football is such a beautiful sport, we'll be starting the tournament even before the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony. It’s simply to bring more joy to all fans of sport, football and the Olympic Games, in France and around the world.” The FIFA President also noted the Games provide an opportunity for countries who are yet to win a FIFA World Cup™ or FIFA Women’s World Cup to step into the limelight by claiming an Olympic gold medal.

“If we look at the list of recent Olympic champions, we find countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Spain and France on the men’s side, and Germany, the United States and Norway on the women's side, all of them are world champions,” he said. “But we also have countries like Mexico, Cameroon, Nigeria and Canada, who have not yet won a FIFA World Cup, neither in the men nor women’s tournaments, but who have already reached the peak of the Olympic dream.”

A general view shows the draw ceremony for the Paris 2024 Olympic football tournaments