Ferguson to help Queiroz fight insult charges

LISBON - Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said he was confident of keeping his job and that the probe into allegations he insulted anti-doping agents could have been prevented through dialogue.

"This is a storm in a cup with no water in it," Queiroz told reporters on Tuesday.

"I am absolutely confident that in the end, once the parties have been heard, things will be cleared up. There was no dialogue before and I would like it to have existed, to avoid all this disturbance which makes no sense at all," he added.

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) is investigating allegations that Queiroz insulted anti-doping doctors during a surprise visit to the World Cup training camp in May, with local media reports saying the episode could cost the coach his job.

Queiroz said that despite the storm he is focussed on Portugal's 2012 European Championship qualifiers next month and expects to be on the bench guiding the side on Sept. 3 at home against Cyprus and away to Norway four days later.

"I fly to Norway on Wednesday (to watch their friendly against France). We are concentrated on the only thing that is important, but I have to say I am not satisfied about receiving attention for the wrong reasons. I hope in the end it is recognised that I did not cause this," he said.

Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson flew into Lisbon on Tuesday to support his former assistant.

"Yes, of course (he should stay as national coach). It is very difficult to get good men in football and Carlos is one of the good guys," Ferguson told reporters after speaking as a character witness at the FPF.

"He has years of sacrifice in the game, his six years at my club were fantastic and of course he should stay."

The Manchester United manager said the case highlighted how anti-doping controls have become demanding in terms of access to footballers.

"Understandably in Carlos's situation, preparing for the World Cup as he was, this became a great interference for him," Ferguson said.

"It is not easy for Carlos. It is not a nice situation... because reputation is important in football and he has a great reputation. Hopefully it can get resolved and he can get on with his life."

Queiroz also called former international Luis Figo and the club presidents of Porto and Benfica among other witnesses.


Earlier on Tuesday, Queiroz's lawyer Rui Patricio told Reuters the Portuguese coach had admitted to exchanging harsh words with the anti-doping doctors.

"It constitutes no insults, it was a mere airing of his annoyance at having the players' rest disturbed. He did not obstruct any anti-doping activity," Patricio said.

The FPF's disciplinary committee is expected to send its judgement to the federation directors this week. If they find Queiroz guilty of obstructing the agents, they could suspend him for up to two years or even fire him.

Former Real Madrid coach Queiroz has two years of his contract to run with the national team. He guided the side to the second round of the World Cup finals, but was criticised for his defensive tactics after they were knocked out by Spain.

Queiroz has said the inquiry has been handled incorrectly and he may complain to world football's governing body FIFA if the case harms him.

"The coach is committed to taking this matter to the final jurisdictions and consequences. That includes everything that is within his legal reach," Patricio said.

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