Blatter reaffirms Olympic obligation

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has today sent a circular letter to all FIFA member associations in order to clarify the subject of the release of players for the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008.

"The release of players below the age of 23 has always been mandatory for all clubs. The same principle shall apply for Beijing 2008," said the FIFA President in the letter. The fact that this tournament is not included in the coordinated international match calendar "does not mean that there is no release obligation for the relevant clubs," he added.

"It would appear to be against the spirit of the Olympic regulations to hinder players under the age of 23, who are actually the core of the squads participating in the Men's Olympic Football Tournament, to take part in the final phase of the event," said Blatter.

The entire circular letter is available to view on the right-hand panel of this story.