Solano arrested in passport investigation

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Newcastle United said yesterday that Nolberto Solano had been arrested over allegations he has a fake passport.

A spokesman for the Premiership club said: "Newcastle United are aware that a police investigation is now underway in connection with passport allegations surrounding Nolberto Solano. [He] has co-operated fully with the investigation, giving a detailed explanation of his possession of the passport in question. Mr Solano is confident that his explanation will be accepted and ultimately he will be found to have done nothing improper."

Chelsea have lodged an appeal with the Football Association over Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's dismissal against Arsenal last weekend. Hasselbaink was sent off after 70 minutes of the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge for violent conduct after appearing to elbow the Arsenal defender Martin Keown.

The London club have also backed Arsenal's protest over releasing players for France's November friendly against Australia in Melbourne, with Chelsea calling for the French football federation to compromise by taking just one player per club. The Arsenal vice-chairman, David Dein, is writing to 11 leading clubs with French internationals, including Chelsea, Fulham and Manchester United, to gain support for an appeal to the world governing body, Fifa.

Chelsea's managing director, Colin Hutchinson, said: "We have already voiced our concerns to the French football federation and we hope to have some dialogue with them. We would certainly support Arsenal in a move for some discussions with the French to get a compromise solution to the situation."

Southampton are trying to sign the Algerian playmaker Ali Benarbia. Benarbia can move for nothing and is interested in coming to England. He was due to join Southampton after impressing on trial, but left when they stalled on a decision.

The Sunderland manager Peter Reid could be prepared to break his club's transfer record to lure Trevor Sinclair from West Ham United.

Reid had attempted to arrange a swap deal that would have taken the winger to the Stadium of Light in return for Don Hutchison last month. But his approach was met with a refusal as Hutchison headed back to Upton Park for £5.25m. However, Reid has money to spend and Sinclair is at the top of his list.

Fiorentina's Czech Republic international Tomas Repka had a medical yesterday and should sign a contract with West Ham today in a £5m move.

Tottenham's Norwegian striker, Steffen Iversen, will be out for eight weeks with the ligament and ankle damage he sustained on national duty against Wales last Wednesday.

Middlesbrough have been refused a work permit for the South African striker Benni McCarthy. The Teessiders had negotiated a loan deal for the rest of the season with Celta Vigo, but it is understood McCarthy's international appearances over the past two years have been below the required 75 per cent.

The Blackburn Rovers manager, Graeme Souness, is beating Middlesbrough in the chase to sign Sedan's French Under-21 left-back, David Di Tomasso. The young defender has been to The Riverside for talks but headed for Blackburn last night and may sign later this week.

Manchester City have moved a game back 24 hours after the Israeli, Eyal Berkovic, pointed out a clash with the Jewish Day of Atonement. Berkovic would have been unable to play against Walsall on the scheduled date of 26 September as he plans to observe the holy day Yom Kippur. As City's match with Walsall kicks off after dusk – the start of the new day in the Jewish religion – Berkovic would have had to sit out the key match. Berkovic pleaded with the club to alter the fixture and the Football League has consented to it being brought back to 25 September.

Foreign referees could be set to join overseas managers and players in the Premiership, according to the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter. "We shall exchange more referees because referees, especially international referees, are identified by the Fifa badge," he said.

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