SPORTS

Toure ‘out of Olympiakos’

The future of Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure at Olympiakos appeared all but over yesterday as tension between the African player’s agent and the Piraeus club’s administration, fueled by complaints made by the player, escalated further to a seemingly irreparable level. In comments published by local sports websites yesterday, Toure’s agent, Ukrainian Dimitri Seluk, requested that it be made totally clear that the African’s playing career with Olympiakos was definitely over. In his first season with Olympiakos last season, Toure, the younger brother of Kolo Toure, a key defender at Arsenal and in Ivory Coast’s national team, was a key contributor to the Piraeus club’s league-and-cup double triumph. In recent times, Toure has expressed dissatisfaction over his treatment at Olympiakos. Complaints by the African star, who is considered by many pundits to be on the verge of a bigger career in Europe’s top leagues, have included claims of payment delays and slack handling by the team pending visa renewals for both the player and his family. The discontent eventually drew his manager into the fray. Amid the complaints, the Olympiakos administration responded by announcing that it would sever all business ties with Seluk because he was not accredited by FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, for his job. Besides his give-and-take trading activity in soccer’s transfer market, Seluk also holds the vice presidency of Ukrainian club Metalurh Donetsk, the club from which Toure and Haruna Babangida transferred to Olympiakos last summer. More recently, Seluk also facilitated another deal for Olympiakos, bringing in midfielder Marco Ne from Belgian team Beveren. «Well, the truth is that, as vice president of Metalurh Donetsk, I can’t be classified as a FIFA-accredited manager. Could [Socrates] Kokkalis be both an agent and president of Olympiakos? If I’m not an officially recognized manager, why did they sign Toure, Babangida, and Ne through me?» Seluk questioned yesterday. «The people working around Kokkalis are truly crazy or irrelevant [for their positions]. I can’t offer any other explanation,» he added. In a statement released by Olympiakos yesterday, the club said it lodged an inquiry at FIFA over Seluk’s credentials as an agent because of his unprofessional behavior. The statement said Seluk repeatedly criticized Olympiakos publicly for various actions. Toure’s dissatisfaction at Olympiakos, insiders believe, stems from the disappointment prompted by the club’s recent rejection of his younger brother, Ibrahim Toure, who tried out with the Greek club last spring. Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure both represented Ivory Coast in the ongoing World Cup finals in Germany, where their national team competed in Group C with Argentina, Serbia and the Netherlands. Despite showing great potential, the team failed to make it through the first round of group play.