Football: Around The World - Juventus spared journey to Turkey

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Turkey

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL'S governing body, Uefa, caused a furore yesterday by ruling that tomorrow's Champions' League match between 's Galatasaray and Italy's Juventus would be postponed until 2 December.

The match has been put back because of deteriorating relations between the two countries since Italy arrested the Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan, 10 days ago and turned down 's extradition request.

Juventus had been reluctant to travel to Istanbul to play the match this week. Thousands of protesters marched through streets across over the weekend, burning Italian flags and goods after a Rome court rejected a Turkish arrest warrant for Abdullah, who has been accused of terrorist offences.

"I don't think they'll shoot at us, but the situation on the pitch will be difficult. It would be an irregular way to play a game," the owner of Juventus, Giovanni Agnelli, said before the postponement was announced.

France's World Cup hero, Zinedine Zidane, said: "I'm not ashamed to say that I'm scared and I'm really not convinced about going to . If it were up to me, we wouldn't be going to Istanbul." He and his club-mates have had their wishes granted - for now.

When the Uefa verdict was announced, though, the Turks were not happy. "This is definitely a decision that favours Juventus," Atilla Donat, Galatasaray's deputy chairman, said. He added that he doubted the row with Italy would blow over within a week.

Iran

IRAN ARE likely to accept an invitation to play friendlies in the United States in June.

Iranian team officials said yesterday that a possible US tour could be combined with planned trips to Britain and Canada. Iran reached the World Cup finals in France, where they beat the States - a result which sparked mass celebrations across the Islamic republic.

South Africa

SOUTH AFRICAN football officials were due to meet the Brazilian coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, yesterday to offer him the job of coaching the national team formally.

Parreira, who led Brazil to World Cup glory in the United States four years ago, was in charge of Saudi Arabia in France this year and the United Arab Emirates at Italia 90.

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