Football

Facts

Discipline of Football
Participants 6561
NOCs 92
Competitions held 34 (Venues)
Distinct events 4
IF Fédération Internationale de Football Association

Description

Football (soccer) is the world’s most popular sport, played in more countries than any other. The World Cup of football, the quadrennial competition played in the even year between Olympics (last in 2018), is considered by some as the most watched single sporting event on the planet, possibly surpassing even the Olympic Games. The sport is governed internationally by the Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA), which was formed on 21 May 1904 in Paris, with seven founding members: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain (represented by Madrid Football Club), Sweden, and Switzerland. As of 2020 FIFA has 211 members.

The origins of football are vague. The Greeks played a game that loosely resembled its modern counterpart, as did the Romans. By the 14th century it was so popular in England that King Edward II issued a proclamation on 13 April 1314, forbidding the game “forasmuch as there is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large balls from which many evils might arise which God forbid; we commend and forbid, on behalf of the King, on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city of the future.” In 1349, Edward III objected to the game because it prevented the practice of archery, necessary for the military strength of the country. Banning the game had little effect, however, as similar edicts had to be issued in 1389 (Richard II), 1401 (Henry IV), 1436 (Henry VIII), 1457 (James II), and again in 1491.

Gradually, despite attempts to ban it, football spread throughout the world, becoming popular almost everywhere, with the United States being a notable exception. Football was first contested at the 1900 and 1904 Olympics. The sport has been played at every Olympics since, with the exception of 1932 in Los Angeles.

The World Cup began in 1930 and brings together the world’s top professional players. Olympic eligibility has always been problematic. After World War II, Eastern European countries stated that they had no true professionals, although their players were state supported. Thus they often entered similar teams in both the World Cup and the Olympics, and the Eastern Europeans were dominant in Olympic football from the 1950s until the fall of Communism in the early 1990s. Recently, however, eligibility rules have changed as countries are allowed to use some of their professional players who have competed in the World Cup. Currently, professional players may compete at the Olympics providing they are not more than 23 years old, although each team is allowed three exceptions to the age rule. There is some sentiment among International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials to change this and allow all professionals to compete.

Football (soccer) for women has become more popular, with the first women’s World Cup being contested in 1991. Women’s football appeared on the Olympic Program for the first time in 1996.

Presidents of the Fédération internationale de football association:

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 4 2 2 8
Hungary HUN 3 1 1 5
Great Britain GBR 3 0 0 3
Brazil BRA 2 5 2 9
Argentina ARG 2 2 0 4
Soviet Union URS 2 0 3 5
Canada CAN 2 0 2 4
Uruguay URU 2 0 0 2
Yugoslavia YUG 1 3 1 5
Spain ESP 1 3 0 4
Sweden SWE 1 2 2 5
Poland POL 1 2 0 3
Germany GER 1 1 4 6
East Germany GDR 1 1 1 3
Nigeria NGR 1 1 1 3
Czechoslovakia TCH 1 1 0 2
France FRA 1 1 0 2
Italy ITA 1 0 2 3
Norway NOR 1 0 2 3
Belgium BEL 1 0 1 2
Mexico MEX 1 0 1 2
Cameroon CMR 1 0 0 1
Denmark DEN 0 3 1 4
Bulgaria BUL 0 1 1 2
Japan JPN 0 1 1 2
Austria AUT 0 1 0 1
Paraguay PAR 0 1 0 1
People's Republic of China CHN 0 1 0 1
Switzerland SUI 0 1 0 1
Netherlands NED 0 0 3 3
Chile CHI 0 0 1 1
Ghana GHA 0 0 1 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 0 1 1
West Germany FRG 0 0 1 1

Intercalated Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Denmark DEN 1 0 0 1
Greece GRE 0 1 1 2

Youth Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Bolivia BOL 1 0 0 1
Chile CHI 1 0 0 1
People's Republic of China CHN 1 0 0 1
Peru PER 1 0 0 1
Equatorial Guinea GEQ 0 1 0 1
Haiti HAI 0 1 0 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
Venezuela VEN 0 1 0 1
Iceland ISL 0 0 1 1
Mexico MEX 0 0 1 1
Singapore SGP 0 0 1 1
Turkey TUR 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Christie Pearce-Rampone USA 3 1 0 4
Shannon Boxx USA 3 0 0 3
Heather Mitts USA 3 0 0 3
Heather O'Reilly USA 3 0 0 3
Brandi Chastain USA 2 1 0 3
Joy Fawcett USA 2 1 0 3
Julie Foudy USA 2 1 0 3
Mia Hamm USA 2 1 0 3
Kristine Lilly USA 2 1 0 3
Cindy Parlow USA 2 1 0 3
Kate Sobrero-Markgraf USA 2 1 0 3

Intercalated Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
August Lindgren DEN 1 0 0 1
Oscar Nielsen DEN 1 0 0 1
Charles Buchwald DEN 1 0 0 1
Carl Pedersen DEN 1 0 0 1
Vigo Andersen DEN 1 0 0 1
Aage Andersen DEN 1 0 0 1
Parmo Ferslev DEN 1 0 0 1
Holger Frederiksen DEN 1 0 0 1
Hjalmar Herup DEN 1 0 0 1
Peder Pedersen DEN 1 0 0 1
Henry Rambusch DEN 1 0 0 1
Stefan Rasmussen DEN 1 0 0 1

Youth Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Chen Qiaozhu CHN 1 0 0 1
Gabriela Aguayo CHI 1 0 0 1
Leslie Alarcón CHI 1 0 0 1
Francisca Armijo CHI 1 0 0 1
Julissa Barrera CHI 1 0 0 1
Katherine Cisternas CHI 1 0 0 1
Fernanda Geroldi CHI 1 0 0 1
Constanza González CHI 1 0 0 1
Catalina González CHI 1 0 0 1
Monserrat Grau CHI 1 0 0 1
Paola Hinojosa CHI 1 0 0 1
María Navarrete CHI 1 0 0 1
Romina Orellana CHI 1 0 0 1
Javiera Roa CHI 1 0 0 1
Melisa Rodríguez CHI 1 0 0 1
Javiera Valencia CHI 1 0 0 1
Jorge Alpire BOL 1 0 0 1
Macallister Amutary BOL 1 0 0 1
Carlos Áñez BOL 1 0 0 1
Cristian Arano BOL 1 0 0 1
Luis Banegas BOL 1 0 0 1
Jhamil Bejarano BOL 1 0 0 1
Osvaldo Daza BOL 1 0 0 1
Pedro Galindo BOL 1 0 0 1
Josué Guthrie BOL 1 0 0 1
Yasser Manzur BOL 1 0 0 1
Marvin Martínez BOL 1 0 0 1
Rodrigo Mejido BOL 1 0 0 1
Álvaro Paz BOL 1 0 0 1
Noël Rodríguez BOL 1 0 0 1
Jorge Sabja BOL 1 0 0 1
Gustavo Torrez BOL 1 0 0 1
Romero Vaca BOL 1 0 0 1
Chen Xia CHN 1 0 0 1
Fang Jie CHN 1 0 0 1
Jin Kun CHN 1 0 0 1
Li Qingtong CHN 1 0 0 1
Ma Xiaolan CHN 1 0 0 1
Tao Zhudan CHN 1 0 0 1
Tu Linli CHN 1 0 0 1
Wan Wenting CHN 1 0 0 1
Wang Yanwen CHN 1 0 0 1
Wu Xi CHN 1 0 0 1
Xie Qiwen CHN 1 0 0 1
Xu Huan CHN 1 0 0 1
Yan Yingying CHN 1 0 0 1
Zhan Ying CHN 1 0 0 1
Zhang Jiayun CHN 1 0 0 1
Zhao Yujie CHN 1 0 0 1
Zheng Jie CHN 1 0 0 1
Rodolfo Ángeles PER 1 0 0 1
Fabrián Caytuiro PER 1 0 0 1
Ray Contreras PER 1 0 0 1
Iván Cruz PER 1 0 0 1
Franklin Gil PER 1 0 0 1
Junior Huerto PER 1 0 0 1
José Inga PER 1 0 0 1
Quillian Meléndez PER 1 0 0 1
Alessandro Milesi PER 1 0 0 1
Christopher Olivares PER 1 0 0 1
Fernando Pacheco PER 1 0 0 1
Anthony Quijano PER 1 0 0 1
Fabio Rojas PER 1 0 0 1
Christian Sánchez PER 1 0 0 1
Marco Saravia PER 1 0 0 1
Gerald Távara PER 1 0 0 1
Brayan Velarde PER 1 0 0 1

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Football Men 28
Football Women 7
Football Boys 2
Football Girls 2