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Soccer:  Asian Olympic Council Implements Age Restrictions - 2002-03-11


The governing body for Asian soccer has decided to impose an age limit of 23 for most players in this year's Asian Games.

Under the new rule announced Monday in Seoul, the 20-man lineup for each team can include only three players who were born before 1979. Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, will host the Asian Games between September 29 and October 14.

The Olympic Council of Asia, football's governing body for the region, approved the new rule last month at the request of the Asian Football Association. The new measure conforms with the under-23 age restriction for Olympic football teams instituted in 1992. There was no age limit on football players in past Asian Games.

The International Olympic Committee says it wants to scrap the age restriction. But FIFA, the world football governing body, does not want the Olympic games to rival the World Cup.

South Korean officials say their military will deploy two French-made, portable land-to-air missiles to help protect stadiums during World Cup soccer matches in South Korea.

The missiles are part of a plan to prevent possible terrorist attacks. The plan includes air force jets patrolling the skies over the stadiums during the tournament. The air force says it will make sure jet noise does not affect matches.

The security plans are the latest in a series of measures being planned by South Korea officials to safeguard their portion of the World Cup co-hosted with Japan between May 31 and June 30. South Korea and Japan will host 32 matches each.

Security is of paramount concern to World Cup organizers following the September 11 terror attacks in the United States. The U.S. team will play in South Korea for its three first-round matches. South Korea has set up an anti-terrorism unit and imposed no-fly zones for non-air force airplanes over World Cup stadiums and nuclear power plants during the tournament.

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