FC Nantes Atlantique defensive midfield player Emerse Faé has opted to play international football for the Ivory Coast. Although he was born in Nantes, Faé qualifies to play for the Ivory Coast thanks to his Ivorian parents. The former French Under-21 international has been able to change his official nationality from French to Ivorian under the new FIFA ruling which allows players with dual nationality to change their alliegances even if they have already played youth level football for another nation.
Striker Abel Mphela has been sacked by RC Strasbourg without having played a game after failing to return to France from his native South Africa. The 20-year-old was given leave to travel home for family reasons but the club have heard nothing from him since 19 November. His contract was suspended last month and Strasbourg coach Jacky Duguépéroux said: "I don't think he'll come back. His career has ended before it had even begun."
Struggling Bulgarian side PFC Spartak Varna have parted company with coach Petar Kurdov by mutual consent. The 44-year-old took over at Spartak just before the start of the season but at the winter break they lie in the relegation zone, and Rumen Dimov, who guided the club to safety last term, is poised to take charge again.
Belarussian side FC Torpedo-SKA Minsk have named reserve coach Leonid Savitsky as their replacement for departing coach Sergei Podpaly. The 48-year-old Savitsky will face a tough task with Torpedo-SKA following the loss of striker Edu (to FC Dinamo Minsk), defender Aleksandr Bylina (FC MTZ-RIPO Minsk) and goalkeeper Simas Skinderis (FC Naftan Novopolotsk). Moreover, captain Aleksei Naumov has joined FC Dinamo Brest on a free transfer after his contract expired.
Scottish Premier League club Dunfermline AFC have released winger Thomas Butler and midfield player Stephen Bradley after their short-term deals expired. Manager Davie Hay said: "We are not going to renew their contracts. I just decided we will be looking to strengthen other areas - like up front."
Dundee United FC defender Paul Ritchie has signed a
two-and-a-half year deal with the Tannadice club, who have released defenders Scott Paterson and Chris Innes along with winger Andy McLaren.
Elsewhere in Scotland, Hibernian FC midfield player Kevin Nicol has been ruled out for eight weeks after breaking his foot for the second time in four months. The 22-year-old was poised to return to action after being sidelined since mid-September with the original injury.
Finally, Icelandic champions FH Hafnarfjördur are welcoming back defender Aundunn Helgason on a
three-year contract after the 30-year-old decided not to extend his stay at Swedish side Landskrona BoIS. The Icelandic international played for FH between 1992 and 1995 before moving abroad. He played for Swiss side Neuchâtel Xamax FC, Norway's Viking FK and Belgium's KSV Lokeren OV before joining Landskrona in 2003.
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