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Football

Marseille will block Flamini move


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PARIS, France -- Marseille say they are determined to block French under-21 international Mathieu Flamini's move to Arsenal because it contravenes French rules.

Flamini has featured in pre-season games for the English champions, who said last month that the midfielder had signed a long-term contract.

But Marseille want Flamini to return because, under French League rules, a player must sign their first professional contract with the club that groomed him.

The French football federation have supported the stance while Marseille want FIFA to intervene.

"He is tied contractually with our club," Marseille president Christophe Bouchet said on Friday. "He still owes us three years. Arsenal were aware of the situation from the start but they didn't take it into account.

"We now hope that FIFA will order his comeback."

Flamini, who has not signed a professional contract at Marseille, played against Belgian side Beveren on Wednesday and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the confusion over the 20-year-old's transfer would be cleared-up soon.

"The matter will be dealt with very shortly. However, Matthieu is not eligible to play for us in the Community Shield against Manchester United on Sunday, as we do not have clearance yet," he said.

"I would like to stress that we are sure he will be a registered Arsenal player very soon without any problems at all."

Meanwhile, Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has been ruled out of Sunday's match with a thigh injury amid continuing rumours that the Frenchman is set to move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

England centre-back Sol Campbell is also sidelined with an Achilles problem, although Thierry Henry could make a surprise appearance as a substitute in the English champions' team, after recovering from a similar injury.

The Gunners could rest Sweden's Fredrik Ljungberg because of a rib injury, while England full-back Ashley Cole faces a fitness test on a calf problem.

Edu is still on an extended holiday after Brazil duty


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