FIFA extended the age limit Friday for male soccer players at the Tokyo Olympics in response to the coronavirus forcing the global event to be moved to 2021.
World football's governing body retained the "players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997" guideline in the amended Olympic rule, according to Graham Dunbar of The Associated Press. That means 24-year-olds will be available for the tournament, which is usually limited to players aged 23 or under.
The 16-team competition - which will feature representatives of World Cup holder France, reigning Copa America champion Brazil, and other decorated national teams - does allow three overage players in each squad. However, there were fears the postponement would mean the age for other participants would shift accordingly to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1998.
If those parameters did change to align with the new 2021 start date, players such as Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus - born on April 3, 1997 - could have traveled to Japan only as an overage squad member. The forward can instead count as one of Brazil's younger players, meaning three overage spots are still open for La Canarinha.
Qualified teams for men's soccer tournament:
The sporting showpiece was expected to attract some star-studded names in football, including Paris Saint-Germain marksman Kylian Mbappe.
"Of course, I want to go," the 21-year-old Mbappe said in December when asked about his participation in the Olympics.
The rescheduled games will now run from July 23 to Aug. 8. in 2021 - almost exactly one year on from the original dates. Men's soccer is scheduled to kick off prior to the opening ceremony in Tokyo.