Football: Uefa issue warning on tickets to fans for Euro 2000

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ENGLAND SUPPORTERS were yesterday warned about the dangers of buying tickets for next summer's European Championship finals from anyone other than the Football Association - including touts.

Uefa, European football's governing body, has made it clear that supporters will only be guaranteed entry to grounds for the games in the Netherlands and Belgium if they have obtained tickets from their respective national associations.

After a meeting of a Euro 2000 ticketing workshop in Geneva, a statement read: "Every purchaser of a ticket is registered and if at the stadium it is discovered that the ticket-holder is not listed, access will be denied. This means that tickets should not be bought from third parties, such as travel agents, but directly through the national association."

Barcelona's brilliant Brazilian Rivaldo has been named as the European player of the year, according to the French newspaper L'Equipe. The Spanish media had already suggested the 27-year-old was in line for the award ahead of rivals such as David Beckham, and the player confirmed the news in an interview with the French sports paper yesterday.

"This trophy is very important to me. It is a goal which every professional footballer strives for," Rivaldo is quoted as saying. According to L'Equipe, Manchester United's Beckham finished runner-up to the Brazilian in the race for the "Ballon D'Or", organised by France Football magazine.

Furious Newcastle manager Bobby Robson has fired a warning shot across the bows of French club Marseilles amid claims that they are about to swoop for defender Franck Dumas. Reports from the continent quoted club officials who suggested that they would be meeting the 31-year-old former Monaco player next week.

But Robson, who rates the versatile Frenchman highly and appeared to have talked him out of an even earlier return home, reacted angrily.

"Marseilles have not been in touch with me and they'll get a rocket from me when they do," Robson said. "I'm just looking forward to the phone call from them. Franck Dumas is under contract here and before anything can come out about him joining Marseilles, they had better ring me first. Franck Dumas is not for sale."