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Kylian Mbappe, Neymar
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Neymar, Kylian Mbappe face PSG opposition to play Olympics, report says

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Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both need to approval from their club, Paris Saint-Germain, to play in the Tokyo Olympics. That hasn’t come, though there is still time.

PSG wrote a letter to the French Football Federation (FFF) last week indicating Mbappe would not be released to play in the Tokyo Games, according to L’Equipe, which also reported the club doesn’t want Neymar to play for Brazil at the Olympics.

Both stars indicated in the last year-plus that they were willing to play in the Olympics.

But, as in 2016, a problem arises for the world’s best male soccer players. Clubs were not required to allow them to play at the Rio Games, and FIFA has not said that policy will change for Tokyo. FIFA did not immediately respond to a message seeking clarification on Tuesday.

Complicating matters, the European Championship and Copa America are each held in Olympic summers. Clubs can’t stop their players from competing for senior national teams at those events.

Clubs are often opposed to letting stars play both a continental championship and the Olympics in the same offseason, potentially tiring them for the start of the club season.

In 2016, Neymar and his club at the time, Barcelona, made an agreement to let him play in the Rio Olympics if he sat out Copa America Centenario. That Neymar’s home nation was hosting the Olympics made that deal more enticing for the player and the Brazilian federation than it might be for this summer.

Neymar went on to lead Brazil to its first Olympic soccer title, knocking home the clinching penalty kick in the final shootout with Germany.

Mbappe, star of France’s 2018 World Cup champion team, would be particularly valuable to France at the Olympics. At 21 years old, he would not take up one of the three over-age roster spots for players born before Jan. 1, 1997.

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Rafaela Silva, Brazil’s first gold medalist of Rio Olympics, banned 2 years

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, was banned two years and is in line to miss the Tokyo Olympics, according to multiple Brazilian reports.

Silva tested positive for a banned substance at August’s Pan American Games, it was previously announced. The substance, fenoterol, can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not produce a TUE, so she was stripped of a Pan Am gold medal.

Silva is appealing the suspension, according to Brazilian media.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference in September, reportedly saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance.

The 27-year-old backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships in August, after the Pan Am Games but before her positive test was announced. Silva said that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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Rio Olympic Park closed over safety

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SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian judge has ordered the closing of Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park in the next 48 hours due to a lack of safety licenses.

Judge Eugenio Rosa de Araújo said in his ruling published late Wednesday that Rio’s city hall has not provided safety assurances for the Olympic Park to hold public events.

The Olympic Park of the 2016 Games has staged music festivals and e-sports tournaments, among other events.

According to the judge, who followed suggestions by local prosecutors in his decision, the area is “progressively battered by the lack of care” and “ready for tragedies.”

Rio’s city hall has not responded immediately to a request for comment by The Associated Press.

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