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FOOTBALL: LET'S GO DUTCH; WORLD OF SOCCER.

FIVE leading Belgian clubs want to quit their own country and join the Dutch League in a bid to solve their financial problems.

The clubs, including Anderlecht and Bruges, have begun lobbying Dutch sides to see if they would welcome the switch.

The move is bound to interest Celtic and Rangers as any positive move could rekindle their ambitions of applying to join the English Premiership.

The Old Firm appeared to accept their hopes of quitting Scotland and moving south were dead earlier this year after both FIFA and UEFA ruled out any prospect.

But Anderlecht, Club Bruges, KRC Genk, AA Gent and Standard Liege are angry at the continued financial problems of many of their clubs and are now making a major push to play in the Dutch League.

KRC Genk chairman Jos Vaessen said: "Last year we had financial problems with Eendracht Aalst and RWD Molenbeek, this year it has been Mechelen.

"I am well aware that next season it will be yet another club. This simply has to change or else the five big clubs will walk out of the Belgian League.

"The Be-Ne-Liga would be the perfect solution.

"We have even thought about asking other clubs outside the big five to join us but many teams are not interested because they are afraid of losing their place in the current league."

Belgian football has been plagued with financial problems in recent years, with many clubs closing or being forced to merge.

However, both world and European football's governing bodies are unlikely to give the go-ahead to a merger of the Low Countries leagues after so recently blocking Old Firm attempts to quit their homeland.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich may be about to launch a bid for Brazil's latest teen superstar.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge watched 18-year-old Robinho star for Santos last week as he scored one goal and set up two others in the Brazilian championship decider.

Now the German giants are weighing up a move for Robinho as they try to rebuild for next season after an embarrassing early exit from this year's Champions League.

Veteran Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano has returned home, signing a six- month contract with the country's champions Colo Colo.

The 35-year-old played for several clubs during a 15-year career in Europe, including Real Madrid and Inter Milan. More recently he played for America of Mexico.

Colo Colo, who are emerging from a year-long legal bankruptcy, have landed Zamorano for nothing.

Club sources have said Zamorano will get some money from the sponsors his presence at Colo Colo will attract.

Zamorano said: "It is a sacrifice indeed from an economic point of view but it is still a dream come true for me.

"Playing for Colo Colo is a promise I made to my father as a child."
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Title Annotation:Winner
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 30, 2002
Words:466
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