Crucial Week Ahead For Marseille Striker

PARIS -- Young Brazilian striker Anderson, Marseille's latest soccer sensation, faces a make-or-break week which could see him jump into his country's World Cup squad or end up sidelined by a wrangle over his transfer.

Since signing on loan from Servette of Switzerland in November, "Sonny" Anderson has attracted rave reviews in the French media, scoring four goals in his first four games.

In Friday's crucial top-of-the table clash with league leaders Paris St. Germain, he looked the best player on the field. He laid on the equalizer for German striking partner Rudi V?ller in a 1-1 draw which kept the European champion second, four points off the pace.

The attention focused on Anderson, 23, has prompted Brazilian national team trainer Carlos Alberto Parreira to take more than a passing interest. Parreira is due in France later this month and is planning to meet Anderson on Jan. 26 before watching him in a league game with Monaco two days later.

But the forward's World Cup chances hang not just on his form but on a decision this Wednesday of the French league which is looking into claims that his transfer from Servette contravened its rules.

Marseille's financial crisis after its European Cup ban over the Valenciennes bribery scandal prompted the club to sell stars Alen Boksic, Paulo Futre and Marcel Desailly to Italy to balance the books.

The club had been warned by the league that it had to restore order to its affairs and that it could not buy new players until it had done so. But Marseille originally persuaded the league to accept Anderson's loan transfer, arguing that no fee was involved.

Marseille president Bernard Tapie has since been quoted as saying he paid "only 4 million francs" ($725,000) for Anderson and the soccer weekly France Football claimed this week that Servette was paying part of the player's salary, though the rules stipulate it must be met entirely by his new club.

The league decided to look again at the circumstances of the move and will make a ruling on Wednesday.

"I'm just here to play, the rest doesn't interest me," Anderson said. "But Servette's directors called me to say everything is in order and Marseille vice president (Jean-Louis) Levreau told me there was no problem. So why should I worry?"

Anderson, who was leading scorer in Switzerland at the mid-winter break with 11 goals, said he entertained some hopes of making the World Cup finals.

"To be in the Brazilian squad is the supreme accolade," he said. "So far I've only played in junior teams for my country."


Former England manager Bobby Robson has told the Welsh Football Association he is not interested in becoming Wales manager.

Robson, recently sacked as Sporting Lisbon coach, said: "It was very tempting to look after the careers of brilliant players like Ryan Giggs, Dean Saunders, Ian Rush and Mark Hughes. But right from the initial offer I had a gut feeling that the job should go to a Welshman."

Terry Yorath, whose contract as Wales manager ran out on Dec. 31, is now strongly fancied to be reappointed.


Belgian first division soccer player Dirk Devriese, who broke an opponent's eye socket with his elbow in 1991, was given a two-month suspended jail sentence Monday.

Devriese, who played for Belgian first division club Molenbeek at the time but has since moved to Ghent, was charged with voluntary wounding of Ekeren defender Mike Verstraeten.

"Justice has been done," Verstraeten said afterwards.

The Antwerp correctional court also fined Devriese 10,000 francs ($280) and awarded Verstraeten one franc in nominal damages.