Newcastle enter Intertoto Cup

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The Independent Online

Newcastle received an unexpected chance to qualify for next season's Uefa Cup yesterday when they were awarded a place in this summer's Intertoto Cup.

The Football Association was approached by Uefa, the game's European governing body, after one of the Spanish entries withdrew from the competition, which gives Uefa Cup places to the winners of its three finals. Malaga could not take up their place because of the problems it would have caused over a shortened summer break for their players.

"From the English clubs which expressed an interest, Newcastle were the next highest team in the Premier League table after Aston Villa, who had already been entered," an FA spokesman, Adrian Bevington, said.

The Magpies will play the first leg away, although they will have to wait a couple of weeks before their opponents are known. Four sides from Poland, Malta, the Faroe Islands and Belgium are battling it out for the right to meet Newcastle.

Zaglebie Lubin, of Poland, won the first leg of their first-round tie against Hibernians, of Malta, 4-0, while B68 Toftir, of the Faroe Islands, were beaten 4-2 at home to the Belgian side Sporting Lokeren. The return games are scheduled for 23 June. The winners will then meet over two legs on 30 June- 1 July and 7-8 July to decide who will meet Newcastle.

Should Newcastle reach the semi-finals (25 July and 1 August), they could then be drawn against Villa and would then also have to win a two-legged final.

Everton have been encouraged in their attempts to sign Anderlecht's Canadian striker Tomasz Radzinski. The club has discovered that Radzinski has a secret agreement with the Belgian side that lets him leave for around £3.5m ­ significantly less than his club's £8m valuation.

The Romania captain and centre-back Daniel Prodan, who had been asked by Everton to undertake a five-day fitness test, has said he will only come to England to sign for the club ­ and could now opt for Udinese or Olympiakos instead.

Liverpool have signed the Monaco midfielder John Arne Riise after agreeing a fee of around £4m with the French First Division club. Riise signed a five-year contract on Monday.

Preston's attempts to sign the Canadian international Jason Bent are being frustrated by problems over a work permit.

Danny Tiatto was sent off barely 15 minutes into his comeback for Australia as the Socceroos took a 2-0 first leg lead from their Oceania World Cup qualifying play-off against New Zealand yesterday. Having come on as a substitute, the Manchester City midfielder was dismissed six minutes from time after a wild lunge at his Maine Road team-mate Chris Killen, who was playing up front for the Kiwis.

Norwich City are set to sign the goalkeeper Paul Crichton from Burnley for £100,000.

Port Vale have signed Wrexham's long-serving left-back Phil Hardy on a free transfer.

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