Boro beckon Danish striker

Middlesbrough were yesterday reported to have paid pounds 5.1m for the services of the Danish striker Mikkel Beck from Fortuna Cologne of Germany.

A newspaper in Copenhagen reported that Beck, 22, was expected to join the Premiership club on a four-year contract in July when his contract with Fortuna expired.

"I don't want to either confirm or deny the size of the payment, but it is a very, very nice contract that Mikkel has received," Kurt Behrens, Beck's agent, said.

Faustino Asprilla and Keith Curle will finally have their fate decided today, more than nine weeks after their infamous skirmish at Maine Road. Newcastle's controversial Colombian and the Manchester City captain were involved in a couple of run-ins during the 3-3 draw on 24 March. Asprilla, who faces two charges of misconduct, seems likely to be given a ban of around six matches if he is found guilty.

The hearing, before a three-man Football Association commission headed by Barry Bright of the Kent FA, sitting with the Lincoln chairman John Reames and Colin Taylor of West Riding, takes place in Leeds at noon.

A group of Verona supporters hoisted a black dummy with a noose around its neck on Sunday, in protest at the club's interest in the Dutch midfielder Michel Ferrier. A small group had displayed the dummy, accompanied by a racist banner, before the kick-off against Serie B rivals Chievo. Club officials removed them within half an hour.

Verona, poised for promotion to Serie A next season, have been reported to be close to signing Ferrier from the Dutch club Volendam.

n The Bulgarian referee Veselin Bogdanov had a snake thrown at him from the crowd as he left the pitch after Saturday's Sofia derby between Levski Sofia and CSKA. A policeman clubbed the serpent with his baton.