Cautious IOC reaction to Blatter’s suggestion

August 13th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 13 (DPA) The International Olympic Committee Wednesday reacted calmly to a threat from football’s governing body FIFA to make the Olympic tournament a pure under-23 event in the future. “There is an agreement dating back to 1994 on the football men’s Olympic tournament. This agreement ensures a qualitative strong football tournament with three players above 23. The IOC is unaware of any official request by FIFA to change this agreement,” Emmanuelle Moreau, an IOC spokeswoman, said. “If FIFA wishes to review this agreement, the matter will be referred to the IOC Olympic Programme Commission who will analyse it along with all the requests made by the other International Federations. The Commission will then make the necessary recommendation to the Executive Board.”

FIFA boss Joseph Blatter said last week that older players should be barred from the Olympic tournament in the future. But Moreau said the IOC wanted all top stars to play: “The IOC’s objective is to ensure the participation of the best athletes in each sport. In football, this means that the best players can participate.” Last week the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that FIFA did not have the right to force clubs to release under-23 players for the Olympics.

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