FIFA today greeted with pleasure the decision taken by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to increase the number of teams participating in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 from 10 to 12.

“FIFA is very pleased with the IOC Executive Board’s decision,” said FIFA President Blatter. “This acknowledges the growing importance of women’s football on a global scale and serves as recognition for the development work undertaken by FIFA.”

“It is a decision that FIFA has been advocating for some time and it will no doubt make an important contribution to the further promotion and development of women’s football worldwide,” he added.

The eight-team Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Atlanta in 1996 was a spectacular introduction of women’s football to the Olympic Games. Since then, the event has progressed steadily, with eight teams participating in Sydney 2000, ten teams in Athens 2004 and now with twelve sides in Beijing 2008.

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