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Marseille warned over Barthez move

Barthez move can save his season
Barthez move can save his season

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PARIS, France -- France's football authorities have warned Marseille that the loan signing of Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez is not a simple matter.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed that the correct procedures had to be observed before the transfer could be finalised.

"The matter must go before FIFA's players' status committee after the French FA have submitted the necessary paper-work," said Blatter.

According to all parties involved in the transfer, that has not yet been done.

Marseille said on their website they expected to complete Barthez's move by the end of the week, but that now looks unlikely.

The deal Marseille said had been agreed by all parties must have FIFA approval if Barthez is to play before the transfer window re-opens on January 1.

French league president Frederic Thiriez said the league had yet to be contacted about the loan signing.

The league's doctor must first confirm that Marseille's second-string keeper Cedric Carasso had an injury which would keep him out for more than three months. Carasso is expected to be out six months after rupturing knee ligaments.

"Marseille must then send the contract to the league and the league must ask FIFA for special dispensation for Barthez to play. French procedure must be followed and there will be no special treatment even if we support the return of Barthez to Marseille,' confirmed Thiriez.

Dropped by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Barthez has become third-choice keeper behind American Tim Howard and Northern Irishman Roy Carroll.

"The reason that I was happy to allow the move, bearing in mind it leaves me with just the two experienced keepers, is that in fairness to Fabien, the longer he's going to be here without getting a game will pose a problem for him concerning the French national side," said Ferguson.

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