This is the oldest and most traditional international tournament in world football. After serving as a demonstration sport at the first Olympic Games, the football tournament of the Olympic Games reached its peak in the 1920s when the tournament was widely regarded as the world championship of that time.
Football was introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens and became an official Olympic sport at the London Games in 1908. Nearly a century passed before women's football was included in the Competition Programme at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
However, with the introduction of a proper World Cup in 1930, the status of the tournament diminished. Especially because, as only amateur players were allowed to participate, the tournament was for many years dominated by state amateurs from Eastern Europe. To counter this, and raise the status of Olympic football, professional players were allowed to participate in the 1980s, though subject to certain restrictions, first regarding prior World Cup experience and then regarding player age (U23). All this to avoid unnecessary competition with the FIFA World Cup.