IOC president supports FIFA

IOC president Jacques Rogge united with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter on Thursday and called on football clubs to let their players compete in the Olympic Games.

The 65-year-old Belgian was appealing to the European clubs after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against FIFA and ordered that three players - two Brazilians and one Argentinian - return to their clubs and not play in the Olympic tournament which gets underway on Thursday.

"We (the IOC) share your (Blatter) feelings," said Rogge. "The IOC sets great store by the quality of the the football tournament. You understand Mr Blatter that I cannot comment (on the ruling) as we the IOC created CAS.

"Of course I can say I am concerned. This situation will have to end."

Rogge, who himself is a three-time yachting Olympian, said he believed that a solution could be found. "I have agreed with Mr Blatter we review it after the Games. I appeal to the clubs concerned (Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Barcelona) 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."