English clubs unlikely to recall Olympians
Wednesday 06 August 2008
England's top clubs seem set not to rock the Olympic boat despite a landmark ruling in Switzerland confirming they do not have to release their players.
Although the judgement itself, reached by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, concerned only Lionel Messi of Barcelona, plus Schalke's Brazilian defender Rafinha and fellow countryman Diego from Werder Bremen, it covers all players.
Half the Premier League have lost men to the Olympics, a tournament for under-23s supplemented by three over-age players, and the news from Switzerland is of particular interest to injury-hit Manchester United, whose midfielder Anderson is with the Brazil squad, and Liverpool, who are facing a midfield problem ahead of next week's Champions League qualifier with Standard Liege.
With three players in China, Rafael Benitez's squad was already stretched before Steven Gerrard suffered a thigh injury against Valerenga on Tuesday night.
Without Gerrard and knowing Javier Mascherano and Lucas are at the Olympics along with Ryan Babel, Benitez could be forced to play Xabi Alonso, which would cup-tie the Spaniard and make him less attractive to potential purchasers such as Juventus.
Club officials were still digesting the news before deciding their next course of action but the initial feeling was that the players, having already reported for duty with their respective countries, would remain where they were.
Equally, the prospect of an end to Olympic football, a significant event considering a Great Britain team is due to compete in 2012 at the London Games, has been played down by English football chiefs.
The Premier League have declined to comment on the ruling but with Fifa's strategic committee currently going through a review of the much-maligned fixture calendar, the feeling is Olympic competition could be preserved at the expense of other friendly dates.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent