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Volume 6 No. 214

International Football

Didier Drogba will be allowed to play in Galatasaray's Champions League clash against Schalke after the German club had its objections over his eligibility "thrown out by UEFA on Wednesday," according to the AFP. Schalke, who came away from Istanbul with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last 16 clash, "believed that the transfer of the former Chelsea striker from Shanghai Shenhua to the Turkish side was completed after the registration deadline." But the European governing body said that the deal "was completed according to the rules." UEFA said, "Having examined all the documents of the case, the Control and Disciplinary Body decided to reject the protest lodged by Schalke" (AFP, 2/28). The BBC reported if the Turkish club had been found guilty of fielding an ineligible player, it "faced going into the return leg" with a 3-0 deficit -- UEFA's standard punishment for the offense (BBC, 2/27). FOXSPORTS wrote Drogba agreed to join Galatasaray on Jan. 28 "after ending his short stay with Shenhua amid claims he had not been paid his salary." Shenhua countered that Drogba was "in breach of his contract and it fell to FIFA to provisionally clear the way for the Ivorian to make his Galatasaray debut" (FOXSPORTS, 2/28).

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore has "backed a fans’ takeover of Portsmouth and the Football League’s refusal to deal with any other bidders for the League 1 club," according to Richard Palmer of EXPRESS. Scudamore, who "had to deal with the mess three years ago" when Pompey under the ownership of Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai became the first EPL club to go into administration, has said that he "supports the Football League’s stance over the latest insolvency -- provided it is lawful." A community bid led by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and including Portsmouth City Council, which is lending the fans £1.45M ($2.2M) to buy the club’s Fratton Park ground, has "been made the official preferred bidder in a case that blazes a trail for supporter ownership of football clubs." But financier Keith Harris, who is fronting a rival consortium "is threatening to sue the Football League over its refusal to deal with him." Harris claims that "he would lease the ground for a year and then buy it" in a total deal worth £6.3M ($9.6M) from Chainrai, who now claims to be owed £20M ($30.3M) by the club. Scudamore said, "We are supportive of the position being taken by the Football League in relation to the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust as long as it meets the legal and regulatory requirements of the process." On Wednesday Portsmouth City Council rubber-stamped a £1.45M loan, "repayable from Premier League parachute payments within five months" (EXPRESS, 2/28).

Peruvian football club Alianza Lima is "considering the possibility of giving its players Viagra during matches played at altitude in the local championships," according to the AP. In a country where some Peruvian league matches take place in towns between 2,700 and 3,300 meters, Alianza players "could be looking at reaping the benefits from the erectile dysfunction drug." Coach Wilmar Valencia said, "When we were in Spain during preseason, we talked with the club doctor and he explained to us that Viagra could help improve the physical conditioning of players at altitude." Valencia added that if results showed that the male potency pill enhanced on-field performances then "the club would use it" (AP, 2/28). Alianza Lima trainer Freddy Prado said, "The use of viagra in football is not doping, it helps get more blood to the heart and allows aeration in altitude" (LA REPUBLICA, 2/28).

FIFA has made available an extra 42,308 tickets to the general public for June's Confederations Cup in Brazil. The new allocation includes 3,166 tickets to the tournament opener between Brazil and Japan in Brasilia and a further 1,601 for the host nation's clash with Italy in Salvador (FIFA). ... Dubai Refreshment (PJSC) and Dubai Sports Council "on Wednesday night officially opened the 7Up Dubai Government Entities Football League 2013." The league, which runs until April 13, involves 41 teams from government entities and semi-governmental organizations in Dubai, UAE (GULF NEWS, 2/28). ... Balikpapan, Borneo-based Super League club Persiba President Syahril Taher said the club "will continue to employ Lebanese striker Mahmoud El Ali despite the athlete’s life ban from the West Asia Football Federation over alleged match-fixing" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 2/28). ... The Vietnamese women's football team "has been awarded two titles by the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) for both team and individual." The country's national women's football team "was named the best women's team of 2012 and goalkeeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh won the best female player of the year" (XINHUA, 2/28). ... UAE Pro-League side Al Nasr has "asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to increase" the Dh22.4M ($6.1M) compensation awarded to it from French side Nantes following the signing of Ismael Bangoura (AP, 2/28).