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English Premiership

Ferguson lends support to Queiroz

LISBON, August 11- Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson came here on Tuesday to back former assistant coach at Old Trafford Carlos Queiroz, the Portugal coach who faces disciplinary sanctions for allegedly insulting anti-doping officials.Ferguson arrived at the headquarters of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) in the early afternoon, an AFP journalist reported, and was due to lend his support to Queiroz, with whom he worked for five seasons, along with eight other character witnesses.

Ferguson, under whom Queiroz has twice been assistant from 2002-03 and then from 2004-08, said he had flown over to testify on Queiroz’ behalf because he was a man who had his total respect.

"I’m here to support him (Queiroz) because I know him well and he’s a man of great dignity," said Ferguson, who watched United outclass Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday 3-1 in the Community Shield.

"It’s not an easy situation for a man of his reputation, because reputation is important in football.

"In the world we’re in today, doping control has been so demanding in terms of access to footballers. It puts a terrible strain on football coaches.

"He should stay (in the Portugal job) because he’s good enough."

The other character witnesses include the respective chairmen of Benfica and Porto, Luis Filipe Vieira and Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, as well as former international star Luis Figo.

The FPF’s disciplinary commission opened a procedure against Queiroz last month, alleging he insulted anti-doping officials who had come to test Portugal players on May 16 before the squad flew out to the World Cup in South Africa.

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Media reports suggested that if the commission finds against Queiroz he could be forced to step down from his post just days before the Portuguese start their Euro 2012 qualifying programme against Cyprus on September 3.

Secretary of state for sport Laurentino Dias has dubbed as "serious" the accusations against Queiroz.

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