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The Independent Online

A team from called Joe Public want to join the United States' Major League Soccer.

Not even the anticipated cost of launching a franchise, $20m (pounds 12.5m) has put them off. That is the amount spent by Chicago Fire, who, along with Miami Fusion, are joining MLS this year.

"We are testing the waters," Joe Public's manager, Richard Abraham, said. "The MLS are saying that they are catering for American teams only, but we have heard that a Canadian team have applied for a franchise. If that is so, then the MLS have no alternative but to consider our application also."

They have a long way to go, though. Last year they finished runners-up in their first season in 's semi-professional league, earning promotion to the Caribbean Football Union's Caribbean League. They will need more than just playing prowess to progress any further, though.


The Ferencvaros forward Igor Nichenko should have been resuming his successful career with the Budapest club this week after the Hungarian League's winter break. Instead, he is likely to be in an army barracks somewhere in Ukraine.

Nichenko has failed to report back to Ferencvaros after a trip home, prompting speculation that he has been conscripted to the Ukrainian military.

The Budapest newspaper Nepszava reported on Thursday that the Ukrainian authorities had apprehended the 26-year-old as he renewed his passport in Kiev. It added that the Ukrainian police had been attempting to contact the player for two years.

Nichenko's agent, Sergei Kuznetsov, told another paper, Nemzeti Sport, that he believed the player had probably been conscripted.

"We have heard the news, but we have yet to have it officially confirmed." Laszlo Gal, the Ferencvaros technical director, said. "Igor had a problem with his work permit here and went back to Ukraine to sort out his passport."

Nichenko has been one of the most prolific scorers in Hungary during the past three seasons. Two years' military service is, however, compulsory in Ukraine for all adult males under the age of 28.