Basketball: Carter hits out at Austrian sacking

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RAY CARTER has been fired by his Austrian club Oberwart following a dispute which arose when they deducted his wages for the 10 days he spent with the England team for their European Championship games in November and December.

The 26-year-old Carter, who starred on his debut in the win over Denmark in Birmingham, was left out of Oberwart's Saporta Cup quarter-final in Spain last night against Badalona.

"They fired me," said Carter from Austria yesterday. "Other things have been going on at the club, but the situation with England was the biggest part of the problem. They just didn't accept that I was a national team player and they more-or-less gave me an ultimatum. Play for us or play for England. They wanted me to fly back between the games (at home to Denmark, then away to Spain and the Ukraine) before we played our final match in Kiev."

Although Carter's row with the club began on his return from the England programme in December, Oberwart have been in dispute with most of their squad since the first-leg game against Badalona two weeks ago. "They were threatening to fine us because we hadn't played the way they wanted. It's ridiculous," Carter said.

Carter is one of nine members of the current England team playing with Continental clubs and illustrates the marketability of English players post-Bosman. He is represented by an agent in every basketball-playing European country and they were already making calls for him yesterday.

In the United States, Scottie Pippen is set to follow Michael Jordan and quit the NBA champions, Chicago Bulls. The six-times title winner is likely to be traded to the Houston Rockets.