Barcelona plans Messi Olympics talks

Updated: 08 August 2008 17:03 IST

Argentinian forward Lionel Messi has been kept out of the Olympic football tournament by the Court of Arbitration for Sport or CAS.


Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola plans talks with Lionel Messi before deciding whether or not to give his blessing to Argentina's controversial move to play the superstar at the Olympics.

The Spanish giants won their battle with world governing body FIFA on Wednesday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that clubs were free to prevent their players from taking part in the Games.

However, defending champions Argentina have defied the ruling by naming the 21-year-old Messi in their team to face the Ivory Coast in their opening game in Shanghai later on Thursday.

Guardiola, who is in New York where his squad have been playing a series of pre-season friendlies, wanted the influential Messi back in Spain in time for the Champions League third qualifying round matches against Wisla Krakow which are scheduled for August 12/13 and then August 26/27.

A spokesman for Barcelona said Guardiola would speak to Messi before deciding what action to take, according to the internet site of Catalan daily Sport.

German sides Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 have decided to let their Brazilian stars - Diego and Rafinha respectively -play at the Olympics but at a price.

With the law on their side, and with the Bundesliga season starting on August 15, the clubs said they will allow the duo to stay providing Brazil's Football Federation pay the players wages.

They also insist that there will be an additional fee and the players' insurance must be paid.

"We will release Rafinha for the Olympic Games, if the Brazilian Federation clarifies at short notice the basic conditions for his participation," said Schalke manager Andreas Mueller.

Brazil were facing Belgium in their opener later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, IOC president Jacques Rogge united with FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter and called on clubs to let their players compete at the Games.

"I have agreed with Mr Blatter to review it after the Games. I appeal to the clubs concerned to leave the players in China.

"Let them live their dream. Like Ronaldinho (who is not one of the players involved in the controversy) said it is his dream to play in the Games.

"We have to let the players realise their dream just like the basketball players and the tennis players. I appeal to the clubs to observe the 'Olympic truce' till after the Games.

A furious Blatter said at the final day of the IOC session that the CAS decision could have serious side effects.

"This could have a snowballing effect," said the 72-year-old Swiss.

"Other players could now be withdrawn from the tournament. We will then simply not have an Olympic tournament. We could of course revert to a beach football or five-a-side competition."

Topics : Football Lionel Andres Messi
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