Is football in the 2016 Rio Olympics? The answer is a little complicated. Association football and women’s football (aka soccer) is in the Olympics. But American football is not.
Here’s what you need to know.
Association football, otherwise known in America as soccer, is played in the Olympics. Tournaments were played in 1900 and 1904 as official Olympics events, but FIFA does not recognize them as such. An international tournament was organized by the Football Association in 1908. The sport was dropped in 1932 from the Los Angeles Games in an attempt to promote American football in the U.S. It returned in 1936, under quite a bit of controversy. In the 1984 Los Angeles games, professional players were allowed to compete.
Association football is being played this year at the Olympics, with 16 countries competing for the men’s title and 12 for the women’s. Associations affiliated with FIFA can send teams. Men’s teams must use players under the age of 23, with only three over-age players allowed. Women’s teams have no age restrictions.
As for American football, it will not be played at the 2016 Olympics. It was last played in a demonstration program in the Olympics in 1904 and 1932. College football was played in the 1904 Olympics. One reason it may not ever be in the Olympics again is because it’s really not that popular in other countries. The NFL is made of 96.5 percent American players, according to USA Today, which might give an unfair advantage to American contestants. However, it is played in other countries, so its exclusion seems strange to some. It will also not be in the 2020 Summer Games.