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6 August 2008 - CAS decides on Players' release issue

September 2008

Three European clubs have filed appeals against a decision of FIFA according to which football clubs were obliged to release players under the age of 23 for the Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008, on the basis of a long lasting and undisputed practice which had become a customary law for the clubs.

The CAS Panel reached the conclusion that the Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 is not included in the Coordinated Match Calendar and there is no specific decision of the FIFA Executive Committee establishing the obligation for the clubs to release players under 23 for this tournament. Furthermore, the requirements to justify a legal obligation of clubs to release their players for the Football Tournament Beijing 2008 on the basis of customary law are not met. Accordingly, the Panel considered that FC Schalke 04, SV Werder Bremen and FC Barcelona had no legal obligation to release the players Rafinha, Diego and Messi, respectively, for the Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008. Michele Bernasconi, partner at Bär & Karrer, was member of the CAS Panel and Michael Noth, associate at Bär & Karrer, was appointed as ad hoc clerk.

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