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Sporting briefs

No permit: Thai internationals Suree Sukha, Teerasil Dangda and Kiatprawut Saiwaew have been refused work permits to play in Europe for the second time in the space of a month. The trio were denied permits to play with their club, Manchester City, and were only given tourist visas by the Swiss government ahead of their loan move to Grasshoppers Zurich. "I cannot do anything. I have to wait for City people to solve the problem," Teerasil said.

Richards surgery: England defender Micah Richards has had an operation on his right knee, his Premier League club Manchester City said yesterday. Richards, regarded as one of the most promising young players in England, had surgery to repair a damaged cartilage that had caused him problems earlier in the season. The 19-year-old is expected to be out for "a matter of weeks" according to the club.

Macclesfield: Keith Alexander has been appointed as manager of Macclesfield Town, with Ian Brightwell and assistant Asa Hartford leaving the club with immediate effect. The former Bury director of football has been installed until the end of the season with a view to a longer deal. With 12 games left, the Silkmen sit one place above the League Two drop zone. Malta defender Luke Dimech plays for Macclesfield.

Margairaz: Osasuna's Switzerland midfielder Xavier Margairaz tore the anterior cruciate ligament, a lateral ligament and the meniscus in his right knee during a training match. The 24-year-old will need surgery and is likely to miss Euro 2008 which the Swiss are co-hosting with Austria in June.

Referees exchange: Cyprus is close to agreeing a referee exchange programme with the Greek FA for the first division play-offs in a bid to raise standards and dispel any suggestions of favouritism. "It was something we were looking into for some time and the federation of Greece was the most obvious to approach first," said Cyprus FA vice chairman Haris Loizides.

Gomez fined: Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez has been fined €8,000 for insulting Karlsruhe SC defender Maik Franz in a TV interview after the Bundesliga champions' 3-1 win. Gomez, who escaped a ban, has accepted the fine and apologised for the outburst, saying he had gone too far.

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