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Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
French Court bans South American footballers

A court in Paris has banned three South American footballers from entering France for two years for using falsely obtained passports to play in the French league.

The players, Faryd Montragon of Colombia, Pablo Contreras of Chile and Emiliano Romay of Argentina, used Greek and Italian passports to evade rules governing the number of non-European Union players allowed to play for European clubs. They were also fined -- the heaviest, of forty thousand dollars, being imposed on Mondragon.

He played for Metz, Contreras played for Monaco, and Romay for Nice. The passport scandal first surfaced in December when officials queried the nationality of the Brazilian striker Alex.

His Portuguese passport was found to have been falsely obtained, and an investigation was started into the passports of more than seventy foreign footballers playing in France. The BBC sports correspondent says the football world is expecting more cases to appear, notably in Italy.

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