In a statement made public today, FIFA confirmed that “the release of players under the age of 23 for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 is mandatory for all clubs.” As a result, Leo Messi will be travelling to China to join Argentina’s Olympic squad.

Messi himself had spoken to the press in Barcelona earlier this morning, stating that he would comply with the decision made by FIFA. As for FC Barcelona, the club is now set to make one last attempt to keep the player (or make him return from Beijing) by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).