POSTED: July 29th 2008

Barcelona fight FIFA release order

Gold medallist Messi /
Gold medallist Messi /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

MADRID: Barcelona will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if FIFA tells the Catalan club to release Argentine forward Lionel Messi for the Olympic Games, says president Joan Laporta.

"We are in no doubt that the rules are on our side," said Laporta. "We are not obliged to release the player."

Laporta said the 21-year-old would shortly leave with the rest of the first team for a pre-season promotional tour of the United States instead.

Laporta added that the club wanted to "find a consensus solution that will suit both Barcelona and the AFA (Argentine football federation)."

Barcelona said on their website ( that they want the player available for the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie against Wisla Krakow and scheduled for August 12.

They added that if the tie looked to be going clearly in their favour then they would release Messi for the final rounds of the Olympic soccer tournament in which Argentina are the defending champions.

"The player wants to defend the interests of both Barcelona and the Argentine national side," said Laporta.

Last week FIFA president Sepp Blatter said clubs must release all their eligible under-23 players for the Olympic tournament but leading clubs have said they are under no obligation to do so and are ready to seek support from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Keywords · barcelona · messi · laporta · cas · fifa

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.