Football: Three Belgian clubs consider merger

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The Independent Online
KORTRIJK AND Harelbeke, the Belgian First Division clubs, and Second Division side Waregem are considering a merger, Kortrijk's chairman said yesterday.

"We now have to draw up a protocol saying we're going to merge and give the timing and funding that can be generated," Jacques Laverge, the Kortrijk chairman, told local radio.

He said the newly-formed club could kick off next season although Geert Sustronck, the Harelbeke chairman, was quoted as saying more time would be needed. Harelbeke's mayor told the radio station he was opposing a merger deal but added he was not in a position to prevent it. Harelbeke and Kortrijk are currently ranked seventh and 17th respectively in the 18-team First Division. Waregem are 15th in the Second.

Two players have been given five-game bans after being sent off in European competititons.

Alexandre Khatskevitch, of Dynamo Kiev, was suspended following his red card for butting a Sparta Prague player during the Champions' League qualifying match on 12 August. He will sit out Kiev's first five Champions' League matches.

Forel Balint, of Romania's Otelul Galati, was given his ban for gesturing at an opponent following his second yellow card in a Uefa Cup qualifying round match against Vejle BK of Denmark on 28 August. Vejle won the tie 6-0 on aggregate and Balint's ban will carry over until his team next qualifies for European competition.

Five players were given four- match bans, although Internazionale of Serie A are appealing against Francesco Colonnese's punishment for "hitting out" in a Champions' League match against Skonto Riga of Latvia.

SV Salzburg had two players banned for four matches - Thomas Winkelhofer and Ronald Hemming. The Austrian club were knocked out of the Uefa Cup and the bans will carry over. The other players given four-match bans were Aarno Turpeinen, of HJK Helsinki, and Samsunspor's Tumer Metin.

n The Romanian goalkeeper, Valentin Bargan, was transferred from Recolta Laza to their fourth division rivals, Stemnic Buda, yesterday. The signing- on fee was 11,000 lei (pounds 7.20) - and a truck-load of firewood.