Clubs will be obliged to release Under-23 players for the Olympic football tournament in London this summer, FIFA have ruled.

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."

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