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Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 15:32 UK

Fifa to keep Olympics age limit

Angel di Maria celebrates scoring against Nigeria
Argentina are the reigning Olympic champions

Fifa has been forced to change its plans to restrict the age of players to under-21 in the London 2012 Olympics.

International Olympic Committee (IOC)members warned football could be kicked out of the Olympics if Fifa stood by its plan to alter the under-23 limit.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter suggested a likely scenario would be to keep the existing under-23 limit but with no over-age players.

Three over-age players are allowed under current rules.

"There have been declarations by some members of the IOC executive board that if we are going to lower the age limit again that we will be kicked out of Olympics," said Blatter.


"I spoke with IOC president Jacques Rogge and he said that will not be the case but we could suffer with another principle - we have 28 teams involved, 16 men's and 12 women's and we could lose that privilege."

He added: "Only fools never change their minds."

A task force will now be set up to look at the issue and Blatter adding the scenario of only scrapping the three over-age players was a strong possibility.

Meanwhile Fifa has also admitted defeat in its attempt to regulate players' agents through its licensing system.

At the world governing body's annual congress, Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke revealed only 25% of deals are carried out by licensed agents.

Instead, transfers are invariably carried out by intermediaries, often lawyers or family members.

"We're definitely not happy with what has happened and we have to tackle it," said Valcke.

"With only 25 percent of deals involving official licensed agents, then clearly it doesn't work. There are a lot of intermediaries involved now."

In 2001 Fifa introduced a system where agents had to apply for licences from their national football associations.

Fifa now plans to set up a sub-group, which will include the players' union FifPro as well as other interested parties, to see how the world governing body can move forward.

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see also
Fifa approves Team GB compromise
31 May 09 |  Olympics
Fifa tightens rules on agents
01 Mar 01 |  Football
Argentina brave heat to take gold
23 Aug 08 |  Football
Kaka completes Real Madrid switch
09 Jun 09 |  Europe

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