Sporting Digest: Football

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The Independent Online

The Russian Football Union yesterday announced an eight-year sponsorship deal with Coca Cola. The Russian national side has been without a backer since the state gas monopoly, Gazprom, withdrew their support after a poor Euro 96 campaign.

Oxford United made a profit of over pounds 600,000 in 1996-97 compared to a loss of pounds 1.9m the previous year, due largely to transfer dealings which included the club record sale of central defender Matt Elliott to Leicester City for pounds 1.6m.

Lincoln City are ready to sell defender Kevin Austin to finance new signings. "It always hurts to sell players but we have got to strengthen the squad and we have got to do it soon," their chairman, John Reames, admitted