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FIFA Rejects Olympique Marseille Appeal to Sign Man-U Goalie - 2003-12-09

Football's world governing body FIFA has turned down Olympique Marseille's appeal to sign Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.

Marseille wanted to sign Barthez outside the approved transfer period on loan as a replacement for the injured Cedric Carasso. The 32-year-old Barthez has fallen out of favor at the English champions and is now third in the pecking order behind American Tim Howard and Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll. Barthez had hoped a move to Marseille would help ressurect his career.

France national team coach Jacques Santini has hinted that Barthez could lose his starting spot on the squad unless he returns to regular first-team football.

FIFA said Marseille has 20 days to appeal its decision to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. But the French club's president, Christophe Bouchet, said he would not appeal, that it was time to cut costs.

Manchester United signed Barthez for a world record $13 million from Monaco in May 2000. He has two and a half years left on his United contract but his prospects at Old Trafford look bleak.