Football: United in hot pursuit of Chilean

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The Independent Online
Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, is looking to South America for a second time for the Chilean international centre-half, Dante Poli.

Ferguson has invited Poli, 21, to Old Trafford for talks this weekend and hopes to do a pounds 2.4m deal with his club, the Santiago-based Universidad Catolica.

Poli starred for Chile in the Copa America last month and although he is not yet a regular for his country, there is no work permit problem as he has an Italian passport.

Ferguson can watch Poli train but will not be able to field him in any friendlies until he has agreed a price with Universidad and terms with the player. Poli has also been a target for Rangers, who have signed his friend and old team-mate Sebastian Rozental.

Ferguson has already agreed a pounds 3.5m move for Brazilian defender Celio Silva of Corinthians and is awaiting a work permit.

Fifa, world football's governing body, said yesterday that Ronaldo, at the centre of a controversial transfer from Barcelona to Internazionale, is free of any contractual obligations to the Spanish club. Fifa authorised Italy's football federation to register the Brazil striker provisionally with Inter.

Ronaldo's move had been held up because the Spanish Football Federation refused to issue a transfer certificate. The Spanish argued that a buy- out, or withdrawal clause, in his contract was valid only for domestic transfers.

Internazionale are refusing to play ball with fresh demands from Barcelona for transfer money for Ronaldo, after Fifa's insistence yesterday that extra cash may be needed on top of the pounds 18m the Italians thought had secured the Brazilian's release from the Spanish club.

Fifa players' status committee chairman, Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, said the original fee Inter paid to buy out Ronaldo's contract did not constitute a transfer fee. He said if the two clubs cannot come to an agreement by Thursday, 31 July, then Fifa will impose a fee.

Ian Wright will not face disciplinary action from the Football Association over his alleged verbal attack on a disabled assistant referee.

Richard Saunders claims that the Arsenal and England striker taunted him over his disability during a Coca-Cola Cup tie against Norwich at Highbury.

The incident happened nearly four years ago, but Saunders has decided to speak out now after passing the League's retirement age of 44.