It has been confirmed that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s and women’s football tournaments will take place in six cities: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Manaus, Brasília and Belo Horizonte. It has also been decided that the 58 matches will be staged at: Corinthians Arena (São Paulo), the Maracanã and Olympic Stadium (Rio de Janiero), Arena Fonte Nova (Salvador), Mané Garrincha Stadium (Brasília), Amazônia Arena (Manaus – photo) and the Mineirão (Belo Horizonte).
“The inclusion of Manaus in the Rio 2016 Olympic schedule will enrich the tournament with a visit of the football players to one of the most iconic locations in the world,” said Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman. “I am certain that the Amazon will welcome the Olympic world with a memorable celebration.”
Football is the only sport that will be hosted outside of Rio de Janeiro, with the tournament taking the Rio 2016 Games out to the rest of Brazil. There will be 16 teams in the men’s competition and 12 in the women’s tournament.
Marco Polo Del Nero, chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments, said: “The Olympic football tournaments will be a fantastic opportunity to revive the great atmosphere seen during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, not only in Rio de Janeiro, but also in the other five cities. They did an excellent job in 2014, and now they can use the World Cup stadiums and infrastructure already in place to unite the country for a major event once more. I am confident that the participating teams will have an unforgettable Olympic experience.”
Two South American teams are already confirmed in the Rio 2016 men’s football competition: Brazil, as host country, and Argentina, as the winners of the South American under-20 championship. In the women’s tournament, Colombia confirmed their place, along with hosts Brazil, by finishing runners-up in last year’s Copa America. All the remaining places will be decided by April 2016.
The men’s Olympic football competition features players up to the age of 23 (born after 31 December 1992), with the exception of three ‘over-age’ players per nation. The16 teams will be divided into four groups of four and the competition will begin on 4 August, one day before the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The two best-performing members of each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. The final will be played on 20 August, a day before the closing ceremony, at the Maracanã Stadium.
In the women’s competition there are no age restrictions. The 12 teams will be split into three groups of four, and matches will start on 3 August. The top two teams in each group and the two best third-placed teams will progress to the quarter-finals. The final will be played on 19 August, also at the Maracanã Stadium.