(WFI) Gianni Infantino is on his way to Rio to watch the first men’s Olympic matches and attend the lavish Games opening ceremony.
The women’s match between Sweden and South Africa was the first sports action of the Olympics. Sweden won 1-0 in front of a sparse crowd at Rio’s Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium.
INSIDER is told that the FIFA chief was travelling from Zurich to Rio on Wednesday. He will watch the two games in Rio on Thursday before taking his place at Brazilian football mecca the Maracana on Friday evening. Infantino is one of many dignitaries at the curtain-raiser to the 16-day Olympic showpiece.
With FIFA’s wider-ranging reforms to implement, Infantino is not staying around. He will return to Zurich at the weekend.
A FIFA spokeswoman told INSIDER that secretary general Fatma Samoura will attend the Olympic finals at the Maracana. The women’s gold medal match is on Aug. 19, the men’s the following day.
There are 16 teams in the men’s tournament divided into four groups. Neymar is the most famous of the over-age players involved playing for host country Brazil; three are allowed for each men’s team while the rest must be under 23. There is no age restriction for women’s teams.
Iraq and Denmark square off in the first of eight matches in the men’s tournament on Thursday at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia. The second matches in the men’s group stage begin Sunday, Aug. 7.
The women’s Olympic football tournament features 12 teams in three groups. Sweden notched the first victory in the Rio Olympics on Wednesday to get the ball rolling for the women’s tournament. The second matches of the women’s group stage will be played on Saturday, Aug. 6.
The Rio 2016 Olympics are now unofficially underway. The opening ceremony will take place on Aug. 5.
By INSIDER Editor Mark Bisson
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