There is good evidence of football being played in 1896. On the same day, there may also have been a cricket match. Below are the details of the evidence of such a match, as given to me by Nitzan Zilburg. Cricket made one official appearance at the Olympic Games, in Paris 1900.
Zilburg believes that a cricket match occurred. The 1896 official report states that many and various sports were contested on that day, April 12th 1896, however the report only lists two events, shooting and Cycling.
To complete the list of many and various sports, in addition to the shooting and cycling, he is sure that it was football and possibly cricket, and the writer of the 1896 Official Report mistakenly did not mention those sports or decided not to report the demonstration sports.
A program published on April 1st did not include football and cricket, but it is possible that a few days later the organizers of the games added these sports. In this newspaper clipping shown from 1896, cricket and football are listed as sports on the program. Another official publication of the IOC dated April 11th, written in french, says that football and cricket were on the program.
It may never be known for sure if cricket was on the 1896 program, but it definitely was played officially in 1900.
- About Cricket at the Olympics
- Cricket at the 1900 Olympics
- More Olympic Demonstration Sports
- More about Cricket