Olympic Soccer

CIS ruling favors clubs in Olympic call-up battle


The Olympic men’s soccer tournament will lose some of its luster after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Lionel Messi, Diego and Rafinha can be withheld from the Olympics by their respective clubs.

The ruling isn’t likely to set off a wave of withdrawals since the ruling states that it does not apply to players who have been registered already. That said, this is terrible news for the Olympic tournament, which is set to kick off in less than a day.

As I said yesterday, one can only hope that Sergio Aguero somehow gets recalled by Atletico Madrid and promptly scores a hat-trick in Champions League qualifying against Schalke, one of the three clubs involved in the on-going battle with FIFA (Rafinha plays for Schalke). At the very least, FC Barcelona will be able to rest easy now that it will have Messi when it faces either Beitar Jerusalem or Wisla Krakow in the upcoming Champions League qualifiers.

What do you think of the ruling? Surprised? Disappointed? Glad to see FIFA lose for once?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Brant

    While I’m glad FIFA finally took a shot once, this was the wrong one for them to lose. The Olympics are now going to be largely irrelevant, and I wonder if FIFA didn’t take a ‘dive’ to try and keep their U-whatever tournaments from being more irrelevant.


  • Freddy Adu

    this is disgrace.

    How can the olympics be a u-23 tournament of U-23 can be withheld.

    This is absolutely ridiculous


  • Keane-O

    Wish this ruling came sooner so we could have seen Messi on Barca’s USA tour.


  • seven

    I agree with Brant. I doubt FIFA has much interest in helping a competition that it has no stake in. Soccer is way down my list of Olympic events that I’m interested in.


  • RK

    Aside from the World Cup, the Olympics is the most prestigious and important events that the world has. I can’t understand how a club would hold back a player from such an important event.


  • betinho

    This court ruling was obviously a thinly veiled way of FIFA being able to look like it supported the Olympics. That court was NEVER going to rule against the clubs. The clubs statements were always supremely confident and always hinted that FIFA was giving them different info thatn the public. It was like “(wink wink) you must release your players (wink wink)”. Look back at the quotes. This isn’t a suprise.

    What the hell is a CIS anyway? Court of International Sport? Where is that? Who runs it? How does one get elected or appointed to that court? What rules do they follow? Is there a International Sport Constitution?



  • kpugs

    I think this ruling is a farce. Basically FIFA is paving the way for clubs to ruin international football. I can’t wait until Messi is withheld from the world cup.

    This is baseball’s last olympics…and soccer is set to follow.


  • Bootsy

    The article indicates that the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s reasons for allowing the clubs to reject the request to free players are 1) because the Olympic tournament is not on FIFA’s match calendar, and 2) because there was no evidence FIFA’s executive board obliged the clubs to release the players. Surely these two things are things that can be fixed going foward; so while *this* Olympics may be tainted, future Olympics will not be.

    Or am I missing something?


  • Justin O

    From the article:

    “This decision does not affect the eligibility status of the players who have been validly entered by their national Olympic committee and who remain fully eligible to compete”

    From above:

    “The ruling isn’t likely to set off a wave of withdrawals since the ruling states that it does not apply to players who have been registered already.”

    I don’t understand. Who are the “validly entered” “registered” players? Could Argentina not have validly entered or registered Messi?


  • Gage

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Liverpool pull the string on Babel and Mascherano at this point. Oh, and I’ll still watch the games.


  • Phillip

    Soon it’s gonna be…

    “We don’t want to release our players for your international friendlies.”

    Then it’s gonna be….

    “We don’t want to release our players for you little confederation championships.”

    Then it’s gonna be….

    “Who cares about the World Cup? We’ve got summer friendlies to play!”


  • Adam

    Done and dusted!

    CIS can get bent!

    This has larger implications, Copa America, African Cup etc..

    With the money involved in the sport clubs will have increased power over players.

    This trend mirrors intl realtions and the slow decline of the nation-state.


  • Betinho

    FIFA cares about its own events. The reason why this is happening is precisely because FIFA could give 2 sh*ts about the Olympics – it’s not theirs, it’s the IOC’s. The confederatiions and the WC are tied to FIFA. They will always be supported (read – they make a ton of money from those events).


  • TBryantMU

    I hope Messi stays with Argentina despite the ruling. What would Barca do? Sell him? I really really doubt it. If Messi stays despite Barca’s calling, it would be a powerful message sent to the clubs that they need to resepct their players more because they are the ones who make the plays, not guys like Joan Laporta.


  • MK

    With all of this talk of Messi, Rafinha, and Diego, we’re missing the big story – FC Dallas can use this ruling to pull Dax McCarty!


  • Betinho

    Who cares about all this…did anyone notice Mexico fell 13 spots in the latest FIFA rankings and are 1 place BEHIND the US? I know those rankings don’t mean much but…just saying…..


  • disappointed fan

    This is ridiculous and it sets a dangerous precedent, I can see this leading to a situation where club soccer has the priority over national team call ups–that would be a disgrace if it ever were to happen. National team soccer is the last bastion of true sporting ethos in the soccer world because the players aren’t paid to participate–its all about pride and effort.


  • Jason

    FIFA ranking is more a joke now, then before the system was changed after 2006 WC. I refuse to believe that “best” CONCACAF team is #31.


  • seven

    Disappointed fan: players most definitely are paid for playing internationals for their countries. Obviously this money varies greatly depending on the resources of the federation, but don’t think for a minute that players are only playing for pride & patriotism.


  • CACuzcatlan

    Someone correct me if my logic is wrong.

    The Olympics can’t be put on the FIFA calendar because that would mean all teams have to release all players called by their national teams. Give that CL qualifiers would overlap with Olympic call ups, its never going to happen. Unless the Olympics are moved up a month.


  • USvsIreland

    Olympic Soccer was already a joke!

    Fantastic news.

    Again if the Olympics want soccer, they need to move the tourney to a time that doesn’t conflict with club competitions. The U-20 World Cup does this. Why should the “U-23 World Cup?”


  • Heffe

    Lame. Part of the fun for the Olympics was to see the young players hammer it out in a tournament. If Messi et al are removed from the tournament, it kills a lot of the excitement I had for the Olympic games.


  • Felix

    What a bunch of horses**t!! It’s practically preseason still and these clubs can’t do without these guys for 3 weeks maximum!! How many games is that 3 to 4 tops!! What a bunch of garbage.


  • spencer

    Well the tournament is a joke and the olympics will never be anything special for soccer till European nations think it is important


  • Astan

    The international sports court (CIS) is not run by FIFA.

    The clubs pay wages for these players and they send them to the world cup, the euros, the africa cup and other tournaments and the qualifiers which are in the FIFA calendar mostly without complaints.

    Now this tournaments collides with the regular season and champions league qualification and it isn’t in the FIFA calendar. The sports court did what it had to do, because there was no legal basis for FIFA’s demands.

    For football there are more important events. Olympics are about the “smaller” sports.


  • WeatherManNX01

    As much as I think FIFA needs to be knocked down a peg, this was not the battle that should have done it.

    The Olympics occur outside of the regular season in the bulk of the world, and the idea that players might get injured in Olympic games is totally bogus. I don’t mean they won’t get injured, because it is possible. But it’s just as likely to get injured in training camps, practice, friendlies, exhibitions, national team sessions, and *gasp* the regular season.

    The Olympic games is probably the most prestigious sporting event in the world. Olympic soccer is certainly below the World Cup, but these players have a great feeling of national pride when they play for their country in the Olympics. In fact, I almost think that a lot of Olympians are happy just to have the opportunity to be there; winning is just frosting on the cake.

    Clearly this could change the entire dynamic of being called up for various international events. Maybe teams begin to refuse to release players for international friendlies. This could be a very disastrous domino effect for soccer.

    The only way I see players being able to be secured for release now is to have the provision included in their contracts with their clubs. And that still hurts because only your big name guys are going to be able to get that written in.



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