updated 7/31/2008 6:31:53 PM ET 2008-07-31T22:31:53

The German soccer club Werder Bremen will appeal to the highest court in international sports, looking to overturn a FIFA decision obligating teams to release players 23 and under for the Olympics.

Bremen, the German team Schalke and FC Barcelona are trying to reverse the ruling set by soccer's governing body Wednesday.

Barcelona would lose Lionel Messi to Argentina for the Beijing Games, while Bremen's Diego and Schalke's Rafinha would play for Brazil. Other clubs have players they wanted to keep home, but haven't taken action against FIFA.

Bremen appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the club said it was told by the court that a ruling could come by Tuesday at the latest. The Olympic soccer tournament begins Aug. 7, the day before the opening ceremony.

"Those in charge at Werder Bremen have reached the conclusion that nothing on the facts in the conflict has changed," Bremen said. "The decision of the judge isn't based in any way on the actual rules, in which it is clearly regulated under which conditions players have to be released."

Barcelona, Schalke and Bremen contend the Olympics were not included on soccer's international match calendar. But FIFA said the calendar reflects the schedule for only A teams — those which include players older than 23. The dates for the Beijing tournament are set by the International Olympic Committee, and not by FIFA, it added.

The release of young players has traditionally been accepted by clubs since the rule first came into force 20 years ago, FIFA said. Bremen and Schalke say the rules change constantly.

Slim Aloulou, a Tunisian judge on FIFA's player status committee, said the release of players 23 or under was "mandatory for all clubs."

"Taking part in the Olympic Games is a unique opportunity for all athletes of any sporting discipline," FIFA said.

The two German clubs say they need a decision soon because Diego and Rafinha defied them and joined the Brazilian team in Singapore. That means the midfielder and defender will play for Brazil when the Olympic tournament begins if CAS doesn't make a final ruling. They would miss two Bundesliga matches, and Rafinha and Messi will both be absent during Champions League qualifying.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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