Olympic boost for Brazil with Neymar set for Rio

    Story highlights

    • FIFA rules obligate clubs to release players for international duty, except when it comes to the Olympics
    • Neymar will not represent Brazil at the Copa America in the United States

    (CNN)There might be a few empty seats at Olympic venues this summer, but tickets for soccer matches involving hosts Brazil might now be a little harder to come by.

    That's because Barcelona superstar Neymar looks set to play in his second Olympic Games after a deal was reached between his Spanish club and the Brazilian Football Confederation.
      A statement on the Barcelona website said the striker would take to the field in Rio de Janeiro in August but not play for his country in the Copa America tournament in the United States two months earlier.
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      "F.C. Barcelona expresses its gratitude to the Brazilian Football Confederation and its president Marco Polo del Nero for accepting the Club's proposal," it said.
      FIFA rules obligate clubs to release players for international duty, except when it comes to the Olympics.
      Brazil were beaten by Mexico in the final in London four years ago.

      Slow ticket sales

      Neymar's appearance in Rio will be a welcome boost for Olympic organizers struggling with sluggish ticket sales -- less than half of available tickets have been sold with four months to go.
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      Earlier this month, Brazil's new minister of sports, Ricardo Leyser, admitted the government was considering buying tickets to distribute among the country's public schools in an effort to boost interest.
      The games couldn't have come at a worse time for Brazil, with the country struggling with a deadly epidemic, a political crisis and a misfiring economy.
      There had been fears that the Zika virus might even threaten the games itself, with approximately 16,000 athletes and 600,000 visitors expected in Rio between August 3 and 21. But Brazilian authorities remain confident they can minimize any threat from the mosquito-borne infection.