Issa Hayatou Issa Hayatou, Chairman of the FIFA Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments
Those who may have been sceptical before the Centennial Olympic Games about two major innovations in the Olympic Football Tournament must have been pleased to have their scepticism removed quite shortly after the 48 men's and women's matches got under way.

One such reservation may have been with regard to the introduction of a women's tournament, but this was only a natural progression of FIFA's continuing support for women's football and the successful organisation of two Women's World Cups in the past five years. There is no doubt that the women's tournament added a huge amount of interest to the Games, not only on the domestic front with the American public's understandable joy at the success of their own team, but because of the freshness and honesty of the women's game.

The other hesitancy may have been over the age-limit ruling for teams in the men's tournament, with teams allowed to include up to three players over the Olympic football age-limit of 23. This had been the subject of widespread debate within the football community and all opinions were respected, but the results of the tournament themselves gave clear indication that those teams which used the ruling to wise effect were also the most successful.

Africa's first-ever gold medal in Olympic football was another source of satisfaction, not only for the African football community but for the FIFA programme of assistance to those countries which, barely two decades ago, stood little realistic chance of achieving such success. The breakthrough comes after similar success in the FIFA youth competitions and augurs well for the future of our sport.

In introducing this Report, may I thank not only its authors for the thoroughness of their work, but also the ACOG Football Competition Department, ably led by Sandra Cress, for all their diligence in the difficult task of coordination between the Olympic authorities and FIFA. Finally, in regard to the numerous spectators who travelled extensively and who contributed to making the tournaments a great success, I would like to extend not only my congratulations but also my sincere thanks for their unfailing support which was evident throughout. These factors from all concerned will ensure that these Olympic Football Tournaments will remain engraved upon the memory in the same measure as they were agreeable and pleasant to watch.