Argentine football great Diego Maradona attended a Beijing court
hearing Friday which was considering his $3.2 million image
rights claim against two Chinese Internet companies, state media
Maradona accuses the companies of using his name and picture for
an online gaming site without asking his permission, news agency
A Beijing court heard the case against Beijing Sina Internet
Information Service Co Ltd -- operator of one of China's largest
internet portals Sina.com -- and Shanghai No. 9 City Information
Technology Co Ltd, it said.
A cartoon image of Maradona in his Argentinian blue and
white-striped national team shirt could still be found at the
game's website qiuqiu.9c.com, on Friday morning, Xinhua added.
However, it appeared to have been removed later in the day when
Maradona's agent in China, Tang Qinghui, told AFP that she could
not comment on the case.
However, sources told Xinhua that the 51-year-old is seeking 20
million yuan ($3.2 million) in compensation.
Tang said Maradona is in China to discuss with football officials
how the game can be developed in the country at grass roots
But there has been speculation in the Chinese media that he is
being lined up to become coach of the national football team.
The former coach of the Argentina national team and United Arab
Emirates club Al Wasl held meetings with top Chinese Football
Association officials on Thursday.
"They did not talk about the national coach job," Tang told AFP.
"Maradona just wants to see football in China develop, and to
particularly help young footballers."
Tang said Maradona -- who became a hate figure among England fans
following his infamous "Hand of God" handball goal at the 1986
World Cup -- will also be giving advice to referees and coaches
CFA spokesman Dong Hua also said that the manager's position was
"He met with our vice chairman Wei Di but they did not discuss
this matter," he told AFP.
Ex-Real Madrid and Spain boss Jose Antonio Camacho was lured to
China as manager on a reported $8 million-a-year contract last
However, the national team is already out of the running for the
2014 World Cup after it failed to get through a qualifying group
topped by Iraq.
The national team has only qualified for one World Cup, in 2002,
when it lost all three games and failed to score a single goal.