RELEASE PLAYERS, BLATTER PLEADS

BEIJING - Fifa president Sepp Blatter has appealed for Under-23 players to be automatically available for the Olympic Games as legal wrangling continued to threaten the Brazil and Argentina squads.

BEIJING - Fifa president Sepp Blatter has appealed for Under-23 players to be automatically available for the Olympic Games as legal wrangling continued to threaten the Brazil and Argentina squads.

Three days before the men's Olympic football competition starts on August 7, the Court of Arbitration in Sport was still deliberating on three appeals filed by Spanish and German clubs against releasing players for the games.

Barcelona do not want to release Argentina's Lionel Messi for the Beijing Games while Schalke and Werder Bremen want to withhold the two Brazilians, Rafinha and Diego. The three players are already training in Beijing with their squads.

"We are surprised by what has happened ... These players have been asked to play for their national teams," Blatter said. - Sapa-AFP

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