Fifa review rules to end club rows over young players at Olympics

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The Independent Football

Fifa will conduct a review of Olympic football regulations to ensure the London Games in 2012 are not hit by more club-versus-country rows. Barcelona, Werder Bremen and Schalke have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to stop the likes of Barça's Argentine midfielder Lionel Messi from competing.

Since 1988 Fifa has insisted that clubs must release their under-23 players for internationals. Fifa president Sepp Blatter yesterday urged clubs to "let the players play" – but admitted an urgent review was required. He said: "It is necessary we have an exact and precise ruling." Fifa was due to present its case last night and Blatter expects a final ruling within the next 48 hours. "It is not only a question of solidarity. It is also a question of respect to the Olympic spirit to let young players have the experience," he said.

Blatter also addressed the issue of a Great Britain team at the London Olympics. "The first Olympics after World War II were in London. There was a British football team there. In 2012 there will be a British team. For us it is not important if the players are all from England."

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