FOOTBALL AROUND THE WORLD

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The Independent Online
Russia

The n title contenders, Rotor Volgograd, claim they were robbed of a crucial victory last weekend by a drunk linesman who ruled out a perfectly good goal.

Rotor were top of the table when they went into Saturday's game at the strugglers Chernomorets Novorossiisk but managed only a goalless draw, allowing Spartak Moscow to go one point ahead with just two games left. Rotor thought they had scored when Gennady Yesipov headed home from close range in the 19th minute, but the goal was ruled out.

"The team thinks the linesman was not in a sober state during the match. The goal was disallowed after his flag went up," the news agency Itar- Tass reported. When the Rotor president, Vladimir Goryunov, tried to investigate his players' claims after the match, he was accused by Chernomorets of being drunk himself. Goryunov denied the charges, and has threatened to sue his accusers.

United States

For the first time in 20 years, New York's Shea Stadium will host a soccer match next month. The home of the New York Mets baseball team will stage an international friendly between Colombia and Honduras on 1 November.

South Africa

The South African striker, Sean Dundee, is at the centre of a tug-of- war between his native country and Germany, where he plays his club football for Karlsruhe.

Dundee, the top scorer in the Bundesliga with nine goals this season, said at the weekend he dreamed of playing at international level for Germany and not South Africa - remarks that have begun a storm of controversy at home. The South African government said on Tuesday it would not try to stop him if he wanted to play for Germany, but some angry MPs said he should not be allowed to do so.

Also, many black South Africans apparently feel that the national team coach, Clive Barker, who is white, is bending over backwards to try to entice Dundee, a fellow white, into his squad - overlooking black players who want to play only for South Africa.

The German coach, Berti Vogts, reportedly wants to see Dundee naturalised as a German citizen in time for his side's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on 9 November. South Africa play Zaire in another qualifier on the same day, and Barker has been trying to persuade him to return home for that match - and all future internationals.

The 23-year-old Dundee, who has Irish grandparents, was also approached in vain by the Republic of Ireland earlier this year.

Italy

Verona were this week fined 20 million lire (pounds 8,350) by the Italian League's disciplinary commission after racist insults were shouted by their fans during last Sunday's Serie A match against Roma.

Aldair, Roma's Brazilian international defender, was repeatedly targeted by groups of Verona supporters during the game, which Roma unexpectedly lost 2-1.

Verona fans have an unfortunate history of racist intolerance. Last season they displayed an inflammatory slogan and hanged a black puppet to express their opposition to the planned transfer of an African player to Verona.

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