SPORTING DIGEST : FOOTBALL

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The Independent Online
Frank Maloney, the boxing promoter, has denied he is set to take over Portsmouth. Maloney, who represents the former world heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis, was rumoured to be involved in a £7m buy-out of the Fratton Park club. But Maloney said: "I don't even know where Portsmouth is. All I know is there are a lot of sailors who live there. I'm not interested in buying Portsmouth now and I never have been."

Wolves are giving trials to the Finnish internationals, Antti Niemi and Antti Heinola, who have just completed spells with Bolton. Niemi, a 22-year-old goalkeeper, and the Under-21 utility player, Heinola, have been lined up to play for Wolves' reserves at Everton tonight.

The Leicester central defender, Brian Carey, has been placed on the transfer list at his own request. The 26-year-old, who moved to Filbert Street for £250,000 from Manchester United 18 months ago, has made only one first-team appearance this season.

Three players - Alan McLaren, Paul McStay and Michael O'Neill -will miss the Tennents Scottish Cup third round at the weekend. McLaren and McStay are suspended, while McNeill is recovering from knee surgery earlier this week.

Chelsea have sold their 3,900 ticket allocation for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round trip to Millwall. With demand far exceeding supply, the club have arranged to beam live coverage to the new North Stand at Stamford Bridge where fans will be able to watchthe action on a bank of television screens. Admission is £10, and by ticket only.

Botafogo, of Rio, are hoping to sign the Brazilian international, Bebeto, in a bid to match the recent signing of his World Cup striking partner, Romario, by local rivals Flamengo. Bebeto, currently with the Spanish club, Deportivo La Coruna, would cost Botafogo around £2m.

The debt-ridden 1993 European champions, Marseille, are almost certain to go into receivership soon, the president of the city's commercial courts said yesterday. Marseille, relegated to the French second division last year for trying to fix a league match in 1993, have debts of around £30m.

Jimmy Nicholl, the Raith manager, has been fined £200 and warned about his future conduct by the SFA. Nicholl appeared before the general purposes committee yesterday, following his criticism of the match referee, Jim O'Hare, after a league match againstDundee in October in which the midfielder, Danny Lennon, was sent off.

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