Football: Kanchelskis' denial

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THE RANGERS winger Andrei Kanchelskis yesterday dismissed long- running rumours that he has links with the Russian mafia.

The pounds 5.5m Ukrainian-born Russian international has been dogged by reports since his arrival in Glasgow that he is forced to part with pounds 8,000 a week in protection money.

The 29-year-old was also alleged to have run up huge gambling debts during his time with Manchester United and Everton before he moved to Italy's Serie A with Fiorentina.

Kanchelskis insists that the claims are entirely untrue and has pleaded to be left alone to concentrate on his football at Ibrox.