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UEFA sanction leaves PSG dazed but determined

(c) 1997 Copyright Nando.net
(c) 1997 Reuter Information Service

PARIS (Aug 19, 1997 - 23:34 EDT) - A UEFA decision to penalize Paris St Germain for fielding a suspended player in a preliminary match has shocked the club but they have not given up hope earning the cash they were counting on in the lucrative Champions' League.

Monday's UEFA ruling that PSG cede the two goals it scored when it lost to Steaua Bucharest 3-2 has left manager Ricardo, already under pressure to resolve a fistful of transfers, ebbing at the low-point of his career.

"This is the worst disappointment of my career," the Brazilian said. "But we won't give up."

"When you lose a match you can be angry with your performance, but in this particular case there is nothing you can do."

PSG vice-president Michel Denisot said he was stunned at what he saw as a very severe decision.

"It was an individual mistake which has had terrible consequences," he said.

"Now we have to score four goals and concede none in the second leg. It's going to be hard, but I'm hopeful."

But while the error of fielding red-carded Laurent Fournier during the Steaua match could sink PSG's European Cup hopes, it could also prove financially disastrous for them, French sports daily L'Equipe said on Tuesday.

L'Equipe estimated PSG could lose around 70 million francs ($ 12 million) if the side failed to qualify for the main European Cup competition.

The complicated negotiations involving three restless PSG players, goalkeeper Bernard Lama, striker Patrice Loko and Brazilian Leonardo, are only adding to Ricardo's headache.

Brazilian playmaker Leonardo is interested in joining AC Milan, but the Italian side seem reluctant to give the 75 million francs ($ 13 million) asked by PSG to let him go.

Frenchman Loko wants to leave, but Ricardo wants to keep him as a back up for former AC Milan striker Marco Simone.

PSG said the transfer fee for Loko was 35 million francs ($6 million), but added that no-one had yet expressed an interest in the French international.

And 34-year old Lama, suspended for smoking cannabis last June, wants to join Real Madrid, but the Spanish club remain undecided, despite a cut in the transfer fee to eight million francs ($ 1.5 million).