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France Soccer Club Penalized

January 17, 2001

PARIS (AP) _ Saint-Etienne was penalized seven points in the French League standings Tuesday after a hearing on accusations the team used players with fake passports.

Saint-Etienne, 8-9-6 this season, dropped from 11th to 15th place in the standings following the decision by the judicial committee of the National Soccer League.

Team president Gerard Soler was banned from holding any official position within professional soccer for a year.

Saint-Etienne forward Alex Dias, who is from Brazil, and former goalkeeper, Maxym Levytsky of Ukraine, were banned from playing for French clubs for four months, but two months of their penalties were suspended.

The French League has limits on the total non-European Union players that can be field. Alex testified about allegations he used a fake Portuguese passport. Levytsky, who transferred last month to Spartak Moscow, gave evidence to the committee last week about his allegedly fake Greek passport.

The committee did not explain the ruling, and the penalties could be appealed, French League spokesman Guy Mislin said.

Alex and Levytsky are being investigated by French judge Nicolas Chareyre for ``using false documents.″ The players face criminal charges if found guilty.

Police seized documents, including Alex and Levytsky’s contracts, from Saint-Etienne’s headquarters Tuesday, according to Didier Lacombe, the club’s administrative and financial director.

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