A potential row between FIFA and the International Olympic Committee was finally averted on Thursday after FIFA's Congress ruled the men's Olympic tournament would remain an Under-23 competition.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told a news conference after the Congress the decision was the right one because IOC president Jacques Rogge was furious with FIFA's plan to change the rules.
FIFA considered using the Under-20 World Cup as a qualifying competition for the Games and lowering the Olympic age limit to Under-21 but, after studying the plan for a year, the executive committee proposed to Congress that it maintain the status quo.
Blatter explained: "The idea to reduce the age limit came from two confederations who thought that the Olympic Games tournament disturbed the international football calendar.
"Their basic idea was to use the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with the best teams from that going into the Olympic Games.
"But when the idea reached the table of the IOC in Lausanne, there was a fire within the organisation and I had a very angry IOC president Jacques Rogge coming to see me in Zurich," he added.
The proposal to maintain the status quo was accepted by 178-21 votes.
Issa Hayatou, president of CAF, the African confederation, who chaired a Task Force to examine the matter told delegates:
"We propose to maintain the status quo for the London Games in the men's competition in the London Olympics in 2012 with the idea being the upper age limit will be maintained for future Games. Three over age players will be allowed to compete as now."
Sixteen teams take part in the men's Olympic finals and 12 in the women's competition.