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In 1900 and 1904, football was introduced as an exhibition sport and became the first team sport included in the Olympic Games. Since 1908, the sport has been held at every Olympic Games with the exception of the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
While professionals are allowed in the men’s tournament, rules restrict teams to players under 23 years old, with the exception of three over-age players. No age restrictions apply for the women’s tournament.
Women’s football debuted in 1996 with an eight team competition at the Atlanta Games. Since then the event has gone from strength to strength, expanding to ten teams at the Athens Games and expanding again to 12 teams in Beijing. The men’s tournament is set at 16 teams.