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By ESPN Staff

Portuguese federation fears FIFA suspension

LISBON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - FIFA could suspend Portugal from international football for failing to resolve a relegation row that disrupted the start of the Premier League season, a source close to the Portuguese federation said on Friday.

The president of the Portuguese federation (FPF), Gilberto Madail, met FIFA on Thursday to explain the legal wrangle involving Club Gil Vicente.

A FIFA spokesman would not comment on the content of the meeting.

However Lusa news agency reported Madail as saying he was "very pessimistic" about FIFA's decision, which should be announced in the next two to three days.

"We are very worried about the way FIFA labelled this case and fear it may lead to Portugal's suspension from international competitions," the source told Reuters.

Portuguese media reported on Friday that European body UEFA was considering replacing Porto, Sporting and Benfica in the Champions league with Chievo, Osasuna and Ajax.

Portugal are also due to play Finland in a Euro 2008 qualifier on Wednesday.

FPF chief Gilberto Madail will meet the president of the Portuguese Premier League and the secretary of state for sports on Friday to express his concerns, the source said.

Gil Vicente were suspended from the Premier League after using Angolan amateur player Mateus last season.

They then applied to a civil court to clear the player's eligibility and asking the court to suspend some of the Premier League games they were supposed to play in, causing disarray at the start of the season.