Perrin claims rivals will target Pompey players

The Portsmouth manager, Alain Perrin, believes three of the club's out-of-contract players, Patrik Berger, Steve Stone and Shaka Hislop are "targets" of other clubs.

The Frenchman added all three will be asked later this week whether they want to sign new deals to stay at Fratton Park next season.

"It will also depend on financial conditions," said Perrin. "They are all targets for clubs but maybe they want to stay. I want to keep some of them and now we are safe we will talk with them this week."

Portsmouth's Premiership survival is assured despite a 2-0 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday but Perrin wants a six points from the two remaining games against Bolton at home next Saturday and at West Bromwich Albion the following weekend.

The latter could help seal the relegation of their local rivals Southampton, but Portsmouth will almost certainly be without Lomano LuaLua for the rest of the season after he tore a hamstring in the win over Saints last week.

Berger, in whom Aston Villa are believed to be interested, may have played his last game for the South Coast club, having damaged an ankle in the same match. The full-back Andy Griffin is also ruled out for the last three games of the season with a knee injury. Berger, 31, underwent an X-ray examination last week, which ended the former Liverpool player's fears of a broken ankle, but the Pompey physio, Gary Sadler, said the Czech international is "a major doubt" for the rest of the season.

Portsmouth refused to comment on a rumoured bid to bring the Russia captain, Alexei Smertin, back to Fratton Park from Chelsea this summer but the idea is popular with the Portsmouth captain, Arjan de Zeeuw.

After spending last season on loan at Portsmouth following his £3.45m move from Bordeaux, he has made only 19 starts for the new Premiership champions this season and there are hopes he could be lured back on another loan.

If Chelsea countenance the loan the midfielder may even be offered a permanent move to Portsmouth and his return is something which would delight De Zeeuw.

"It would be fantastic to have him back," said the centre-half. "He had a great season for us and won many points with his work-rate and skill. I'm sure the other players would be really happy to have him back, too.

"He was a great character, always happy, always busy, always working. He was great in midfield, especially for his own defenders. He was like a little vacuum cleaner clearing up in front of you.

"We went through a very sticky patch the season he was here but he never let his work-rate drop and got us points with his industrious efforts."

Elsewhere, the game's world governing body, Fifa, has made it easier for Europeans from 16 nations outside the euro zone to buy World Cup tickets after complaints from consumers and intervention from the European Union.

During the first phase of ticket sales, fans from the European Economic Area not paying in euros or not using a credit card issued by the World Cup sponsor MasterCard often had to pay extra cross-border bank transfer fees. When the second phase of ticket sales opened yesterday, fans only needed to pay for a domestic bank transfer in their local currency, the EU said.

"Following these changes, football fans will benefit from a fairer choice of payment methods for World Cup tickets," the EU Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said.

In the first tranche of sales, which ended on 15 April, 812,000 tickets went to 208,455 people picked at random by a computer from the 900,000 who had applied. The World Cup starts on 9 June 2006, in Munich.

The EU Commission intervened in the sales after the British consumer association Which? lodged an official complaint.

The European Union also intervened last year when it was revealed tickets ordered over the internet for the Olympics in Athens could only be paid for by Visa cards. The EU closed its investigation into the case when the system was changed to ensure consumers could also buy tickets without using Visa.

The former Germany and Scotland coach Berti Vogts has ruled out returning to his national set-up as the technical director after the German Football Association refused to make a quick decision on the appointment. "The DFB's timing does not fit with mine," Vogts said.

In France, the Paris St-Germain president, Francis Graille, has been dismissed by the club's board and replaced by Pierre Blayau. PSG lost 31m euros [£21m] last year, twice as much as in 2003.

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