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Germany

Germany's Olympic Chief Urges Clubs to Release Soccer Stars

German Olympic committee president Thomas Bach on Sunday called on Bundesliga clubs not to destroy the dream of players who want to compete in Beijing.

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Soccer is an important part of the Olympics and officials don't want it tainted

"I hope that reason will prevail and that we won't ruin the Olympic dream of any young player," said Bach, who is also vice-president of the International Olympic Committee.

"It would be in everyone's interest and preferable than the intervention of sporting authorities."

Several German clubs, including Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Hertha Berlin, are refusing to free their players for the Olympics because the Bundesliga season gets underway during the Games.

Werder Bremen, who are refusing to free Brazilian Diego, have been assured of the backing of the German soccer federation (DFB).

Bach stressed that FIFA had the right to take action against clubs or to suspend players who have been selected but not freed by their club during the Games.

If Diego, 23, has accepted Werder Bremen's decision, compatriot Rafinha, 22, has threatened not to return to training with his club Schalke 04.

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