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Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Suspended jail term for Dembele

Garra Dembele
Dembele has been courted by several leading European clubs

Levski Sofia's Malian striker Garra Dembele has been handed a suspended eight-month prison sentence for drink-driving and producing a forged licence.

A Bulgarian court also disqualified the 24-year-old from driving in the European Union for nine months following his apprehension last year.

Dembele, the local league's top scorer with 16 goals, was more than three times over the legal alcohol limit.

His form attracted plenty of interest during January's transfer window.

Several European clubs, including Celtic Glasgow, Chievo of Italy and a trio of English Premier League sides, were reported to be mulling offers although no move was made.

Dembele's eight-month sentence is suspended for three years and the striker was ordered to pay minimal costs.

"He is a very intelligent boy," his lawyer Konstantin Simeonov told reporters in Sofia, adding the player had no restrictions over travelling abroad.

"He just has to be very careful."

Dembele, who was born in a Paris suburb and represented France at junior level, is expected to make his Mali debut in Tuesday's friendly against Ivory Coast.

He received his first call-up by Mali coach Alain Giresse for a friendly in November but pulled out injured.



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