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02 Feb 2007
IOC News , Beijing 2008

Beijing 2008 and football: who, when, where?

With around 18 months to go before the Games in 2008, the Olympic football tournament schedule in Beijing has been decided. The FIFA Committee in charge of the Olympic Football Tournament, chaired by Issa Hayatou, FIFA Vice-President and an IOC member, studied and approved the schedule at a meeting on 31 January at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

Dates and places
The women’s Olympic tournament will take place from 6 to 21 August 2008. It will kick off in Tianjin, 150km south east of Beijing, and conclude in the Chinese capital. The men’s tournament will open in Shanghai on 7 August, with the final in Beijing two days after the women’s final. The 58 matches in these two tournaments will be shared among six venues:

·         the National Stadium in Beijing, where 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the  men’s final
·         the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing, which will host the women’s final
·         Qinhuangdao, a city by the sea around 300km east of Beijing
·         Shanghai, the biggest city in the People’s Republic of China
·         Shenyang, capital of Beijing’s neighbouring province
·         Tianjin, a city which is also a province in its own right

First teams qualified
For the women’s competition, Argentina is already qualified after winning the South American championship by beating the Brazilian team. The qualifying competitions for each continent will now continue, with a highlight being the play-off between Brazil and the runners-up in the African Football Confederation competition, which will be held in April 2008 in Beijing. Another new feature is that this Olympic tournament will be contested by 12 teams, compared with 10 in Athens and 8 in Atlanta, which shows the increasing presence of women’s football in the Olympic arena.

For the men’s tournament, the qualifying competitions will take place as for previous Olympic Games. For their part, Brazil and Argentina are already qualified, having placed first and second respectively in the recent South American Under-20 Championship. The number of teams in the men’s tournament is unchanged at 16.

A 100-year-old presence
Football became an Olympic sport at the Games in Paris in 1900. In 2008, this sport will thus be celebrating 108 years of Olympism, an important milestone for one of the first collective Olympic sports. For its part, women’s football was introduced in 1996 at the Games in Atlanta, where the final attracted almost 76,000 spectators. This success has continued to grow ever since.

Beijing 2008
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