The International Olympic Committee and FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, yesterday agreed to ban professional players from the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The ban, which was also extended to include players who have played in World Cups, will keep Team America from participating as the U.S. Olympic squad.
Team America was originally set up to serve as the development squad for the national and Olympic teams. But Beau Rogers, the team's general manager, said yesterday he did not consider the ban a setback.
"We never really held out much hope for the Olympics," said Rogers, whose team will play in Fort Lauderdale tonight at 8 (WWDC-1260). "Obviously, we would have loved to play, but the subject had been forgotten by us several months ago."
A spokesman for the United States Soccer Federation said yesterday that Team America was not recognized as this country's Olympic squad.
Ineligible for the Olympics are all players who have participated in either a qualifying or final-round game of the World Cup. Also barred are those who, in the opinion of the IOC, have violated the spirit of fair play through the use of excessive violence or the use of drugs.
Eligible for the Olympics are all players belonging to a FIFA-member country that has a soccer association recognized by the IOC. Those players who earn their livelihood through soccer are ineligible.
But the responsibility on deciding who earns his livelihood through soccer has been left up to the national Olympic committees of each country. Therefore, the Soviet Union and other Eastern European nations who draw their Olympic teams from the military will presumably be allowed to continue that practice.