Olympic and Paralympic football has received limited academic attention and yet the game has been an important part of both competitions for most of their histories. In an attempt to redress this imbalance, the aim of this study was to assess the significance of football in the Olympics and Paralympics from its introduction into both events until the present day. Unsurprisingly, key issues in the history of Olympic and Paralympic football reflect those of these movements more widely, such as gender; disability; amateurism, ‘shamateurism’ and professionalism; politics and propaganda; nationalism and war; and invented traditions and popular myth.