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Barthez Is Loaned to Marseille

October 17, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

American Tim Howard solidified his position as the starting goalkeeper for Manchester United on Thursday when Olympique Marseille of the French league agreed to take Fabien Barthez on loan from the English Premier League champions.

Barthez, who has played 63 games for France and helped it win the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000, had been United's starter for three seasons, but was relegated to a backup role when Manchester acquired Howard this summer.

Barthez has not played a league game since then.

Olympique Marseille said the loan agreement should be concluded by the weekend. Terms were not disclosed.

France's Coach Jaques Santini has urged Barthez, 32, to find a way to play regularly again so that he will be ready for the 2004 European Championship in Portugal in June.

In August, Manchester United also cleared the way for Howard when it sent another of its backup keepers, Ricardo Lopez, to Racing de Santander in Spain.

More Blatter

Joseph "Sepp" Blatter will serve an additional year as FIFA's president, extending his term in office until 2007, under a proposal to be voted on this weekend at an Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Doha, Qatar.

The move is intended to prevent the FIFA presidential election from taking place in the same year as the World Cup. If the revision to FIFA statutes is approved, as expected, Blatter will remain president for another year after the Germany 2006 World Cup.

"It is aimed at making things smoother," said David Will, a FIFA vice president from Scotland.

Not So Sporting

Police in Malmo, Sweden, are investigating whether players from the Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon used illegal drugs before the team's 1-0 UEFA Cup victory over Malmo FF on Tuesday.

Investigators said hypodermic syringes found at the team's hotel were being tested to see whether they had contained banned performance-enhancing substances. Sporting Lisbon said the syringes were used only for medical purposes.

Henrik Qvist, a Malmo police spokesman, said the incident had been reported to UEFA, which is expected to begin its own probe of the matter.

Voeller Unhappy

Germany's Coach Rudi Voeller has said he was not pleased that his team, which finished as runner-up to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup, had not been seeded for next year's European Championship.

Instead, UEFA named host Portugal and defending champion France, along with the Czech Republic and Sweden, as its four top-seeded teams. The latter two were selected based on their performance in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.

"We were World Cup runner-ups one year ago and we were the top European team there," Voeller said Thursday. "I would have wished that this success counted for more."

Rooney Denial

Everton emphatically denied Thursday that it had plans to sell teenage star Wayne Rooney to Chelsea.

The Sun, an English tabloid, Thursday quoted unnamed sources as saying Chelsea planned to offer $58.5 million for the 17-year-old English international striker.

Everton Coach David Moyes called the report "absolute rubbish."

Quick Passes

Diego Perrone scored a goal in each half Wednesday night to lead Uruguay past Mexico, 2-0, in front of 41,587 at Soldier Field in Chicago.... Police in the Dutch city of Eindhoven said they had foiled a kidnapping plot whose target was PSV Eindhoven's Serbian striker, Mateja Kezman, who led the Dutch league with 35 goals last season.


Times wire services contributed to this report.

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