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Sochaux ask FIFA to slap down Newcastle


SOCHAUX, France, August 23 – French football club Sochaux have asked the sport’s world body FIFA to stop English Premier League side Newcastle courting its Malian international striker Modibo Maiga, the French side said Tuesday.

“FC Sochaux-Montbeliard sent this Monday, August 22, 2011 a referral to FIFA in order to stop Newcastle United continuing their contacts with Modibo Maiga, contractually linked to FCSM till 2014,” the top-flight team said in a statement released Tuesday.

“This is because they were in violation of Article 18 of the current international regulations,” by approaching the player without consulting his team, it added. “FCSM asked the English club twice formally but unsuccessfully to stop their actions.”

The Malian international is thought to be in conflict with Sochaux’s directors, who insist he is not for sale despite his wish to leave. He missed Sochaux’s 2-1 Ligue 1 win at Nancy on Sunday, as did midfielder Kevin Anin, who has been linked to Arsenal.

Maiga — who was Sochaux’s joint-top scorer last season with 15 league goals — boycotted his side’s 2-1 home defeat to Caen on August 13 and was left out of the squad for the goalless Europa League tie with Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine on August 18.

Sochaux president Alexandre Lacombe told AFP on Tuesday that Maiga and Anin had now rejoined the rest of the team, however. He declined to comment further.

Sochaux host Metalist Kharkiv for the second leg of the Europa League tie on Thursday.