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Messi may miss Beijing 2008 as court ruling favors clubs

Source:     2008-08-07  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  
(BEIJING, August 6) -- Argentine football superstar, Lionel Messi, is set to be withdrawn from Beijing 2008 after his club, Barcelona, won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to prevent the 21 year old from playing at the Olympic Games.

The CAS ruled that Messi, Werder Bremen's Diego and Rafinha of Schalke, can be stopped from playing at the Beijing Games by their clubs, who successfully argued that the Olympics was not part of the regular international football calendar.

World football governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), had ruled on July 30 that clubs must release players under the age of 23 for the Olympics if requested by their national teams.

However the CAS found: "No specific decision of the FIFA executive committee establishing the obligation for the clubs to release players under 23 for this tournament."

It continued: "CAS calls upon the goodwill and the good sense of FIFA and the clubs to find a reasonable solution with regard to players who wish to represent their country in the Olympic Games."

FIFA is now appealing to the clubs not to call back the players who have arrived in China.

"FIFA is surprised and disappointed by this decision," said FIFA President, Sepp Blatter. "I regret that the CAS has not taken the Olympic spirit into consideration."

Blatter also made an appeal to the clubs: "Let your players take part in the Olympic Games. It would be an act of solidarity in perfect harmony with the Olympic spirit. It would be wonderful for the players, for the fans and for the game itself."

However, this summer there has been inconsistency among Europe's top clubs.

Barcelona wants Messi, who has been in China training with his Argentine teammates, for the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie on August 12
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