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South African champions suspend youth program

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -South African Premier League champions the Orlando Pirates have suspended their entire youth development program to investigate possible age cheating.

Pirates, a former African club champion, say the age cheating "appears to be of a magnitude that calls for an immediate and extensive investigation" having identified cases in an initial probe.

Players pretending to be younger to qualify for age-group tournaments has been a recurring problem for African football, and was the subject of a dispute this month in the opening match of Asia's Under-19 championship, where Saudi Arabia accused Syria of having overage players.

Among other recent cases, Somalia was last month expelled from qualifying for the 2013 African Under-17 championship. Niger was disqualified from the finals of the same tournament in 2009 for fielding a 22-year-old.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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