UEFA opposes IOC on Olympic players' eligibility

Updated: 27 November 2009 11:28 IST

European football leaders have unanimously backed a proposal to limit football's participation in future Olympic Games to players under the age of 2.

Nyon, Switzerland :

European football leaders have unanimously backed a proposal to limit football's participation in future Olympic Games to players under the age of 2.

The International Olympic Committee wants to keep the status quo of under-23s plus three overage players - which allows countries to bolster their teams with star talent - enhancing the appeal and credibility of the Olympic tournament.

But UEFA's strategy council of clubs, national associations, leagues and players' unions unanimously agreed on Thursday that the men's Olympic tournament should be changed to an under-2 event.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has previously suggested dropping the age limit to 2, or even abolishing the limit altogether but barring all players with World Cup experience.

Europe's top clubs don't want to lose players for preseason training and Champions League qualifying matches.

FIFA and the IOC have been struggling to reach an agreement on player eligibility since current rules almost prevented Barcelona star Lionel Messi from leading Argentina to the gold medal in Beijing last year. In that instance, however, it was a "club versus country" dispute which almost led to Messi's absence.

UEFA has eight delegates on FIFA's 24-member ruling executive which will discuss the issue in South Africa next week.

FIFA must then send a report to the IOC's executive board which meets on December 9.

Topics : Football
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