A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Former England coach Eriksson could beat Maradona to Iraq post

Diego Maradonas chances of becoming Iraq’s coach hung in the balance yesterday as the country’s soccer federation also studied options to sign Sven-Goran Eriksson instead.

The Swedish former England manager’s name came into consideration as some 30 federation members met to discuss who would replace departed Brazilian Zico as Iraq’s coach, said Hernan Tofoni, the agent representing Maradona.

“There are about 30 club representatives who are meeting,” Tofoni, whose Argentine company World Eleven is pushing Maradona’s candidacy, said yesterday.

“They’re enthused that Diego should coach their national team but other (federation) directors proposed Eriksson so the issue could be resolved next week,” Tofoni added.

“We’ll travel to Dubai next week to meet with Diego (and the directors).”

Brazil great Zico quit last month leaving Iraq in third place in Group B in the fourth round of the Asian World Cup qualifiers.

Japan lead with 13 points from five matches, while Iraq are equal on five points with second-placed Australia, who have a match in hand, and Oman.

Meireles suspended for spitting at ref

Fenerbahce midfielder Raul Meireles has been suspended for 11 games after being found guilty of spitting at the referee following his dismissal in the derby clash with Galatasaray.

The Portugal international was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 2-1 defeat.

Referee Halis Ozkahya accused Meireles of not only spitting at him as he challenged the decision but also directing a homosexual gesture in his direction, claims denied by the player.

Meireles said: “I’m really annoyed at being accused of spitting at the referee. That hand gesture was to tell him he was scared. Look at my hairstyle, what I wear, I’m not a prejudicial person, my hand gesture was in no way a homophobic one.”

GFH Capital complete €63 million takeover of Leeds

Dubai-based GFH Capital said it would not spend “crazy money” to restore former English champions Leeds United to the Premier League after completing a takeover reportedly worth £52 million (€63 million).

GFH has bought the club from majority shareholder Ken Bates, the former owner of Chelsea and a familiar figure in English soccer for the past three decades.

Bates, now 81, is not severing all ties with Leeds however. He will remain as club chairman until the end of the season.

Well supported Championship clubs like Leeds are drawing interest from foreign investors who have their eye on promotion to the lucrative Premier League.

“Leeds United is a great football club, It’s got history, it’s got pedigree, it’s got a fantastic base on which we can build.

Anelka on Redknapp's shopping list for January transfer window

Nicolas Anelka is one of the names on Harry Redknapp’s shopping list as the QPR boss looks to reinforce his ailing side in the January transfer window.

The west Londoners lie five points adrift of safety heading into today’s trip to Newcastle.

Redknapp admits new faces are needed if QPR are to avoid the drop and, amongst others, has targeted former Chelsea front man Anelka, now of Shanghai Shenhua.

“He is a player that is of interest to anybody,” Redknapp said. “I think he is finishing in China so he is available.

“He is a top player so he is a player we would be interested in, but whether we could afford to get anywhere near him I am not sure. I think the chairman knows Nicolas’ people and so has got a few details on what it would be.”

“We looked at a number of clubs but for us Leeds United was the most attractive,” GFH Capital executive Salem Patel told a news conference.

“We’re not going to be spending crazy money like some football club owners have. What we want to do is to make the investment sustainable and make the club successful,” he added.

Malaga banned from Europe for a year

Spanish side Malaga have accused Uefa of unfair and unjust treatment after they were banned from European competition, should they qualify, for one season due to outstanding debts.

The club have also been threatened with a further year’s European ban by the governing body unless they prove they have no debts to other clubs, players or the tax authorities.

Malaga, owned by the Qatari al-Thani family, are currently fourth in the Primera Division but have had huge struggles with financial problems.

They reacted to Uefa’s decision with “absolute indignation and consternation” and have vowed to challenge it.

Uefa have also fined the club €300,000.

Notts Forest agree a fee with Derry for winger McLaughlin

Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll has been impressed by trialist Stephen McLaughlin and the club have agreed a fee with Derry City for the winger.

Forest look set to sign the 22-year-old following his stint at the City Ground, with O’Driscoll tipping the player to make an immediate impact in the Championship.

“He looks to be a talented boy,” O’Driscoll said.

“He can play on the right or the left, he is 22 and has great potential. I don’t think you can wait a couple of years for him to come through. He has impressed in training. The dilemma is whether you throw him in because he has that potential.

“We want to be in a position where we can give him a chance. He has potential, and this club has a history of bringing through good young players.

“We want to continue that. The fee has been arranged, there are just one or two other things we need to sort out.”

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