Rio de Janeiro: Manaus has been named as one of the six host cities for football matches of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, organisers said. Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte were the other cities chosen during a meeting of FIFA’s Olympic football committee in Zurich.
The 58 men’s and women’s matches will be staged at Corinthians Arena (Sao Paulo), the Maracana and Olympic Stadium (Rio de Janeiro), Arena Fonte Nova (Salvador), Mane Garrincha Stadium (Brasilia), Amazonia Arena (Manaus) and the Mineirao (Belo Horizonte). All of the stadiums were used during last year’s FIFA World Cup.
“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,” Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman said.
“I am certain that the Amazon will welcome the Olympic world with a memorable celebration.” Football is the only sport that will be played outside of Rio de Janeiro during the Games. The men’s competition will comprise 16 teams and the women’s event 12.
FIFA’s Olympic football committee chairman Marco Polo Del Nero said last year’s FIFA World Cup showed Brazil was ready to stage more top-level football tournaments.
“(It) will be a fantastic opportunity to revive the great atmosphere seen during the World Cup, not only in Rio de Janeiro, but also in the other five cities,” Del Nero said.
“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.”
Hosts Brazil and South American under-20 champions Argentina have already qualified for the men’s tournament while Brazil and Copa America runners-up Colombia have booked berths in the women’s draw. The remaining places will be decided by April 2016.
The men’s tournament, which begins on August 4, will feature players up to the age of 23 with each team allowed three overage representatives. The women’s competition, scheduled to start on August 3, has no age restrictions.