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BRIEFS

Matthaeus new Partizan coach

Belgrade: Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus signed a contract on Sunday to become coach of Yugoslav champions Partizan Belgrade, the club’s managing director said.

“We have signed an 18-month contract with Lothar Matthaeus, with an option to extend it for another 12 months if Partizan qualify for the European Champions League,” Nenad Bjekovic said.

Bjekovic declined to reveal the financial details but German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that Partizan had offered Matthaeus 750,000 euros ($769,300) and free flights home to Munich to coach the club for the next 18 months.The paper said Matthaeus, one of the world’s most capped players with 150 internationals to his name, would also get a luxury car and apartment as part of his contract.

Partizan plan to present Matthaeus as their new coach at a news conference on Monday, club officials said.

Attracting one of the best-known figures in football to the impoverished Yugoslav league is a huge coup for Partizan.

Matthaeus succeeds Ljubisa Tumbakovic, who resigned on Thursday after 10 seasons in charge at the Belgrade club.

United’s fan friendly plans

London: Manchester United could become a mutual organisation owned solely for the benefit of its fans, according to a secret finance plan being drawn up by an Irish financier, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

The idea is the brainchild of Irish financier Dermot Desmond, who initially employed us investment bank Goldman Sachs to work on his plan, the Sunday Times reported.

Under Desmond’s proposals, the English club would be bought with debt secured against its future revenues. Ownership would then be handed over to an unbreakable mutual trust whose directors would be independent and elected partly by the fans. The aim would be to make the club bid-proof, making sure it was only ever owned by the fans. Goldman Sachs produced a report on the plan several months ago but is no longer involved in the project and a group of London bankers is casting its eye over the proposal.

Jimmy looks beyond Chelsea

London: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said he would consider leaving Chelsea if he was targeted by a ‘big’ club. Hasselbaink, the Netherlands striker who was linked by the media with a move to Barcelona in August, told the News of the World: “If a really big club comes in for me, I will think about it.”

But he added: “Not many clubs will give me more than Chelsea at the moment. And Claudio will need my goals.”

Arie Haan China coach

Beijing: China have chosen former Dutch World Cup midfielder Arie Haan as their new head coach. “I have a lot of confidence because otherwise I wouldn’t come to so big a country,” Haan told a news conference on Sunday.

“I think there’s a very good future here, and I’d like to be a part of it,” said the 54-year-old.

Pinsent’s advice

London: Olympian rower Matthew Pinsent has called on the British government to ‘be brave’ and put London forward for the 2012 Summer Olympics. “We’ve got to be brave — we’ve got to gird our loins and say “yes we’re going to put our hat in the ring,” said Pinsent.

n Soccer, Spanish League 2002/03 from 10.30pm on ESPN n Soccer, English Premier League 2002/03 Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur live on 1.25am (Tuesday) on STAR Sports n Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar programming from 6.30pm on ESPN


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