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U.S. May Be Host of 2005 Event

Times Staff Writer

FIFA officials on Thursday said the World Club Championship could be played in the United States in 2005.

A committee for world soccer’s governing body meeting in Switzerland said the U.S. is considered the favorite for the 16-team tournament, which is scheduled for July 17-31, 2005.

“Clearly, the U.S. has demonstrated we’re capable of putting on big events,” said Bob Contiguglia, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

FIFA officials said other countries in the CONCACAF region -- North and Central America and the Caribbean -- also are being considered.

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Contiguglia said if the U.S. is named host, he expects a team from Major League Soccer to participate.

In 2001, the Galaxy had been scheduled to play in the World Club Championship in Spain, but the tournament was canceled because of the failure to secure sponsors and television contracts.

Barthez Turned Down

Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez’s request to play on loan for French club Marseille was turned down by FIFA, which would not make an exception to its transfer rules.

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Barthez, a backup to Tim Howard for United, hoped to make the move to his native country to stay sharp or risk losing his starting job for France’s national team as it prepares for next summer’s European Championship.

FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said he was uncertain whether Marseille could appeal the ruling. The next transfer window does not open until January.

Foreigners Win

A team of foreign all-stars from the Mexican league defeated a group of domestic stars for the second time in six months, earning a 3-1 victory in an exhibition Wednesday night in front of about 15,000 fans at the Coliseum.

Leandro Augusto of Brazil, Alex Aguinaga of Ecuador and Roberto Palacios of Peru scored the goals for the foreign team.

The domestic all-stars got on the scoreboard only because of an own goal in the 20th minute by Argentina’s Pablo Lavallen.

Headgear Approved

The Major Indoor Soccer League approved the use of protective headgear that has been popularized by female players, including Joy Fawcett of the U.S. and Charmaine Hooper of Canada.

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The MISL becomes the first men’s pro league to approve the product, which is designed to reduce the effects of head injuries.

Jeff Skeen, the inventor of the product, says that several Major League Soccer players have expressed interest in using the device.

Ferdinand Situation

The English Football Assn., which charged Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand on Wednesday with misconduct for missing a mandatory drug test, said that contrary to reports, the defender still could face a two-year ban.

The FA, however, said a ban of several months was more likely. The FA also said that Ferdinand will not be picked for international play until his case is resolved.

Arsenal Suspensions

Four Arsenal players received suspensions and the club was fined $300,000 for an incident at the end of a game against Manchester United in September.

Defender Lauren was suspended for four games and defender Martin Keown for three. Midfielders Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour were suspended for a game apiece.

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Quick Passes

AS Roma extended the contract of Argentine defender Walter Samuel through 2008.... Brazilian striker Rivaldo, who has played sparingly for AC Milan, was named to the roster for next month’s World Cup qualifying games.... Cologne of the German Bundesliga has fired Coach Friedhelm Funkel after a 2-7-1 start. *

Times wire services contributed to this report.


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