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  -   NEWS
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Leeds' Euro rivals in passport probe
By John Drayton

Leeds United's Champions League quarter-final opponents could be stripped of four leading players in the ongoing passport scandal.

Helder
Helder, seen here in Newcastle colours faces a passport investigation
(Photography/Allsport)
Deportivo La Coruna have been given until today to prove that Helder, Emerson, Jacques Songo'o and Aldo Pedro Duscher are not playing under false passports - or face having them banned indefinitely.

The Spanish FA is taking a hard line and yesterday suspended Alaves' Argentine goalkeeper Martin Herrera for allegedly holding a false Italian passport.

Angola-born defender Helder and Brazilian midfielder Emerson have Portuguese passports, while Cameroon goalkeeper Songo'o has dual French nationality and Argentine midfielder Duscher has an Austrian passport.

Helder played on loan for Newcastle, a club bedevilled by passport problems of their own. Spanish FA spokesman Raul del Prado said:'At present, only three players have been provisionally suspended - Delio Toledo from Espanyol, Herrera from Alaves and Sandro from Second Division Badajoz.

The league committee is in the process of investigating these cases and several more which are reviewed on a week-by-week basis.

'There are no plans to punish teams but players under investigation will be suspended until their documents can be approved by our officials.'

Herrera missed Alaves' 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad at the weekend because of problems over his papers but returned from Italy yesterday with Italian national identity documents.

He admits there are administrative problems with his

passport but claims the papers prove that he is eligible for an Italian passport.

Alaves must now wait to hear whether these documents, which trace his Italian links from his mother's great grandmother, will be enough to have Herrera reinstated. His ban also applies to Alaves' UEFA Cup semi-final clash with Kaiserslautern.

 

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