Rich clubs might relent

BERLIN - The G14, a group of European football's richest clubs, hinted that it might withdraw its complaint to the European Court of Justice in connection with the Abdelmajid Oulmers affair, G14 official Thomas Kurth said in Sport-Bild magazine.

BERLIN - The G14, a group of European football's richest clubs, hinted that it might withdraw its complaint to the European Court of Justice in connection with the Abdelmajid Oulmers affair, G14 official Thomas Kurth said in Sport-Bild magazine.

Belgian first division club Charleroi turned to the European court, claiming ß616000 (about R5,7 million) in damages and interest from world football governing body Fifa for Oulmers' injury while playing a friendly match for Morocco in November 2004.

Oulmers was not able to play for the next seven months.

The court is expected to make a decision in the summer.

Kurth said if Uefa president Michel Platini and Fifa boss Sepp Blatter "proposed an acceptable solution by the end of the season, there is a theoretical possibility that the G14 and Charleroi would withdraw their complaint".

The G14 is pushing for players on international duty to be insured, that clubs earn part of the profits from European championship and World Cup finals, and for places on both the Uefa and Fifa executive committees.

Meanwhile, Lille have lodged a formal complaint with Uefa after losing 1-0 to Manchester United in a controversial Champions League first knockout round first leg on Tuesday.

The French club, whose players staged a near walkout after a quickly taken Ryan Giggs free kick gave the visitors a late victory, also hit back at United manager Alex Ferguson.

Lille coach Claude Puel said he did not know what would come from the complaint about the refereeing to European soccer's governing body but told reporters: "I think United really lacked fair play." - Sapa-AFP

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