Sporting Digest: Football

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The Independent Online
Israeli midfielder Haim Revivo who plays for Spanish club Celta Vigo is quitting the international game. Revivo said he was "extremely hurt by the witch-hunt" surrounding the team following allegations that some of the Israeli squad invited call-girls to their hotel the night before a 5-0 home drubbing by Denmark in their Euro 2000 play-off. No identities have been revealed but Revivo was quoted as saying: "I am not prepared for people to give my wife and children dirty looks and to ruin my family, my career and the warm affection of Israeli soccer fans." Revivo said he would make his move officially only after the investigation into the affair had been completed, when his innocence would be proved. He said: "Throughout my entire career, I have prepared properly for games no matter how important they have been. If anybody can prove the opposite is true, they should speak out." Revivo maintained any player found guilty of using drugs or the services of call-girls "deserves to be thrown out of soccer all together", but said he was certain that none of his team- mates was guilty of such behaviour. "What is being done to the national team players is disgraceful," he said. The defeat, which scotched Israel's hopes of qualifying for the finals - they also lost 3-0 in the away leg - was one of the country's worst-ever home losses and has effectively ended the reign of coach Shlomo Scharf. On the call-girl affair, Scharf has suggested hotel maids may have mistaken players' partners for call- girls.

Former Rangers midfielder Derek Ferguson has joined Australian team Adelaide Force until the end of the season. The 32-year-old won three championship medals and three League Cup winners medals at Ibrox and had been playing for Partick in the Scottish Second Division.

Former Cameroon World Cup star Roger Milla has been named Africa's Footballer of the Century by African Soccer magazine. Milla, at the age of 38, scored four goals at Italia 90 before his country were knocked out in the quarter- finals by England.

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