FIFA - Compulsory release
Football's world governing insists clubs will be obliged to release U-23s
Last Updated: March 30, 2012 8:23pm
Clubs will be obliged to release Under-23 players for Olympics in London
FIFA have confirmed clubs will be obliged to release Under-23 players for the Olympic football tournament in London this summer.
A hardline statement was issued by football's world governing body on Friday, despite Barcelona having won a court ruling in 2008 against being obliged to release Lionel Messi for the Beijing tournament.
It means that FIFA will not leave a decision to clubs; for example for Arsenal to decide whether Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey can play for the British team.
A FIFA statement read: "The executive decided that the release of the U-23 players by clubs for Olympic football tournaments will be compulsory."
The Court of Arbitration of Sport found in favour of Barcelona in 2008 on the grounds that the Olympic tournament is not on the international match calendar, but the club still allowed Messi to play and he went on to win a gold medal.
It is understood that FIFA believe the ruling went against them because they did not make it clear early enough that release of the players was compulsory.
The Football Association have assured clubs that Team GB coach Stuart Pearce will not select any player for the British men's team if they have been in the England squad for Euro 2012.
Each men's squad is made up of Under-23 players plus three over-age players.