Football: Marseille accused

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MARSEILLE, who face Milan in the European Cup final in Munich on Wednesday, have had their preparations disrupted by allegations that they have attempted to bribe one of their rival clubs in the French league.

Marseille beat Valenciennes 1-0 on Thursday to gain a six-point lead (before last night's games) at the top of the table, as they seek their fifth successive title. However, their opponents claimed a senior Marseille official tried to bribe at least one of their players.

Jacques Glassmann, a Valenciennes defender, said he was called at the team hotel on Thursday morning. He said he recognised the voice of a former team-mate, now playing at Marseille, who handed the phone to a person claiming to be a Marseille official. 'This person offered me money to ease off, not to play too hard,' Glassmann said.

Boro Primorac, the Valenciennes coach, said he had 'no doubts' about Glassmann's allegations, describing the player as a sensible character - but added that 'voices can easily be imitated.'

Marseille have threatened legal action for damages if the accusations are not withdrawn.

Rudi Voller, Marseille's veteran striker, has been linked with a summer move to the Japanese club, Verdy Kawasaki.

Belgium, the Group Four leaders, beat the Faroe Islands 3-0 in Brussels last night to move to within one point of a place in their fourth consecutive World Cup finals.