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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 01:45 GMT 02:45 UK
Gaddafi's son joins Italian football club
Colonel Gaddafi
Gaddafi's son's move could have political implications for Libya
The son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has joined Italian first division football club Perugia and will start training with them in July.

Saadi Gaddafi, 30, the captain of Libya's national soccer team, will join the team permanently in the autumn if his time in Italy proves fruitful.

"It is an honour for me to be able to play with Perugia," Saadi Gaddafi was quoted by Italian news agency Ansa as saying.

"The Italian championship is full of pressure but I will go and see if the environment is right."

Saadi Gaddafi is a frequent visitor to Italy and a close follower of the Italian football scene.

He already has business deals with three other Italian clubs and is part owner of Italy's top team, Juventus.

'Political implications'

The Perugia coach, Serse Cosmi, said that under the contract signed in Rome, the young Gaddafi, a midfielder, will be treated just like any other footballer, although he added that that he was "positively impressed" by their possible new player.

The agreement with Perugia marks the first time that the son of a foreign head of state has joined an Italian league club as a player.

The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says Colonel Gaddafi's son's decision to train with an Italian team has political as well as sporting implications.

Colonel Gaddafi is busy realigning his country, and seems anxious to change the negative image of Libya which has persisted in the West since the Lockerbie bombing.

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10 Aug 02  |  From Our Own Correspondent

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