Football: United in appeal

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MARTIN EDWARDS, the Manchester United chairman, is appealing to Uefa for a relaxation of the rules governing the use of foreign players, in an attempt to prevent a significant number of the Old Trafford squad spending this season's Uefa Cup campaign kicking their heels in the stands, writes Rupert Metcalf.

United face Torpedo Moscow in the first round, and under the current rules they can only field a maximum of five out of the total of nine 'foreign' players on their books: three non-Englishmen plus two other players not qualified for England who have been with the club for an uninterrupted five- year period - three of which must have been at youth level.

Edwards wants UEFA to allow an unlimited number of players who, though technically foreign, start with and remain at one club. However, his quest is likely to be in vain. 'I don't think it will be possible to change the rules,' a Uefa spokesman said yesterday.