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Since 1st March, 1999
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Antic set to replace Van Gaal

Madrid: Yugoslav Radomir Antic is poised to succeed Louis van Gaal as Barcelona coach, Radio Marca reported on Friday.

The Spanish radio station said the 53-year-old former Atletico and Real Madrid coach had reached an agreement with Barcelona president Joan Gaspart to take charge until the end of the season.

Barcelona declined to comment. Antic, who steered Atletico to a league and cup double in 1996, has been out of work since leaving Real Oviedo in July 2001 after the Asturian side were relegated from the top flight.

Barcelona sporting director Carles Rexach, who coached the club last season, and Argentina’s 1978 World Cup-winning boss Cesar Luis Menotti have also been reported to be in the running for the job.

Freeman to return

Melbourne: Olympic 400m champion Cathy Freeman will run her first individual event for almost a year next month as she begins her preparations for the 2004 Athens Games.

Freeman took a year’s break after winning gold at the 2000 Sydney Games and was hampered by a thigh injury last year.

The 29-year-old will run the 400m individual event at an Australia A series meet in Perth on February 8, and the 200m two days earlier in Adelaide, her coach Peter Fortune said on Friday. She will compete for the national titles in Brisbane in April before training in the US and Europe ahead of the major grand prix meets and the Paris world championships in July, he said.

Lyon sue Al Fayed

Lyon: Olympique Lyon are suing Mohammad Al Fayed, chairman of Fulham, over the controversial transfer of French international Steve Marlet to the English Premier League club, a Lyon official said on Friday.

“We have all the documents required. Al Fayed stood as a personal guarantor in case the transfer fee was not paid,” the official said. Lyon say 4.57 million euros ($4.94 million) of the transfer fee is still outstanding.

England-Slovakia at Middlesbrough

London: England will play their crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on June 11, the FA announced on Friday

It will be the first time England will a full international in Middlesbrough since Stanley Matthews scored in a 2-1 win over Wales at Boro’s old Ayresome Park in 1937.

England are currently moving their international fixtures around the country pending the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium.

European opposition

Nyon: The European Club Forum, which represents 102 leading soccer clubs, on Thursday declared its opposition to a revival of Fifa’s World Club Championship in an already crowded soccer calendar.

Fifa hopes to stage the event in 2005 if space can be found in the international schedule. The tournament was cancelled in 2001 in Spain following the collapse of Fifa’s marketing partners ISL.

Radcliffe ambassador

Monte Carlo: Britain’s Paula Radcliffe was on Thursday appointed the first ambassador for Yaadis (Young Athletes Against Doping In Sport) by the IAAF. Radcliffe is a known anti-drugs campaigner — to the extent that her demonstrations have landed her in hot water.

n Basketball, NBA: LA Lakers vs Sacramento Kings, live from 9.00 am on ESPN n Cricket, Mission South Africa: England vs India from 8.00 pm on STAR Sports n Football, Premier League: Southampton vs Manchester United, live from 8.25 pm on ESPN

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