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By ESPN Staff

MSI rap Corinthians over Carlos Alberto axing

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian champions Corinthians have been criticised by their London-based partners Media Sports Investments (MSI) over a decision to suspend midfielder Carlos Alberto.

MSI, who signed a controversial 10-year partnership with the Sao Paulo-based club in December 2004, said that they finance the team and did not accept the decision.

'MSI does not agree with the unilateral decisions taken by the directors of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in relation to Carlos Alberto,' MSI said in a statement published on Corinthians's official Web site

'(MSI) will officially contest them, in view of the fact that the company is the exclusive holder of the rights to administer the club's football department.

'In addition to this, MSI understands that Carlos Alberto acted correctly to respond to the request of the people who invested in his contract and to meet abroad to deal with the problems which have happened in Brazil.'

Carlos Alberto was dropped last month after being involved in a public row with coach Emerson Leao.

The former Porto midfielder angrily remonstrated with Leao after being substituted in the 30th minute of a Copa Sudamericana tie away to Lanus of Argentina. He was barred from the team for insubordination and ordered to train alone.

Corinthians said in a statement issued by director of football Edvar Simoes that Carlos Alberto had been suspended for 29 days and fined 40 percent of his monthly wages.

The player abandoned the solitary training sessions after less than one week and travelled to London where he was the subject of speculation over a possible move to English premier league West Ham United.

Corinthians said in a separate statement: 'The penalties which have been applied, as provided for in the 10th clause of his contract of employment, are being communicated to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF)...and the player.'

When Corinthians and MSI signed the deal, the investors agreed to pay off the club's debts and bank the costs of running the football department.

Carlos Alberto was one of a number of expensive signings brought to the club under the MSI deal.

Others included Argentine pair Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, who have both moved to West Ham where they have struggled to settle.

Although Corinthians won last year's Brazilian championship, the partnership -- criticised from the outset by some club directors who said that not enough was known about MSI -- has been fraught with difficulties.

Leao is the seventh coach at the club in the last two years and there has been a huge turnover of players.

Corinthians were mired in the Brazilian championship relegation zone until last month but have pulled clear by winning their last four games.