The 1908 Olympic Football Tournament, organised by FIFA, is regarded as the first official Olympic Football Tournament. National representative teams were there for the first time, with Great Britain - the hosts and birthplace of modern football - coming up trumps and winning the first Olympic football gold.

There are references to earlier tournaments in a historical context, as two years before the first Olympic Games were staged in 1896, there had been lively debate as to which types of sport would be admitted in Athens. One of them had originally been football.

But the hopes and efforts of some countries to come up with Olympic teams for 1896 were crushed by a lack of funds and organisational know-how. Overshadowed by the World Fair, the 1900 Olympic Games failed to arrange a tournament of representative teams, with only French league runners-up Club Français de Paris contesting two matches against a London club and a Belgian national side.

The situation was similar in St Louis in 1904 when a few exhibition matches were played in November, long after the competitions for the fifteen other sports had been staged. Galt Football Club from Canada danced around the two local teams and returned home to rapturous crowds and later were awarded Olympic medals.

In 1906, fourteen sports, including football, featured in the Olympic Games in Athens to celebrate the modern Games' first ten years. Again, there were no famous names among the list of competitors. Apart from two clubs from Athens and Thessaloniki, a team from Copenhagen and one from Smyrna (now called Izmir) lined up against one another. Trailing 0-9 against the Danes at half-time, the dispirited Athens team failed to turn up for the second half of the final in the Podilatodromio (the subsequent site for the Karaiskaki Stadium)!