CAS backs clubs in Olympics dispute

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled in favour of Barcelona, Werder Bremen and Schalke in their Olympics dispute with Fifa. The clubs will now be able to pull their players out of the Beijing games.

The decision will see the Argentinian striker Lionel Messi as well as the Brazilians Diego and Rafinha return to their respective clubs. Barcelona, Werder Bremen and Schalke took their case to the CAS arguing that the Olympics is not included in Fifa's Co-ordinated Match Calendar and therefore clubs are under no obligation to release players.

Barcelona and Schalke are both set to take part in the preliminary qualifying rounds of the Champions League during the Olympics and argued that they would lose millions if they failed to qualify for the group stages. No other players, however, are expected to be withdrawn from the games as they had already been given the green light to take part by their clubs.

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