FIFA only has itself to blame

I am probably in the minority, but I equate FIFA's administration of the beautiful game with Major League Baseball's administration of baseball. Their decisions are reactionary, they kowtow to the deep pocketed, they seem to treasure the past without looking to the future, and they both thrive on "unwritten rules".

So imagine FIFA's surprise this morning when the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of Barcelona, deciding that they were not obligated to release players for the Olympic tournament because it is not on the official calendar. It's not, and FIFA wants to keep it that way. They believe their World Cup is bigger than the Olympics, and they want to keep it that way.

By no means do they want the Olympic tournament to upstage the world cup, so a few Olympics ago they decided that teams that qualify for the Olympics would use their U23 teams, and 3 veterans. But it would not be officially sanctioned by FIFA. i.e, teams were not required to release players for the Olympics. So why on earth did they expect, and even demand that teams do just that?

So FIFA doesn't recognize the tournament, yet it wants clubs to send their players? It was a no-brainer for the CAS. What can FIFA do? Recognize the Olympics as an official tournament, and make it part of it's international calendar, for one. If they are worried about the Olympics upstaging their own tournament, then they should make the tournament 21 and under. Let the kids proudly represent their country without any repercussions or guilt. Market it as future world cup stars going for the gold.

Messi will probably still play for Argentina, and why not? But he is a little injury prone, and there is the rub -- why would Barça risk their ace in an unsanctioned tournament? What if he comes back as damaged goods? If FIFA quits playing this charade, they wouldn't have a choice.