Boro given final piece of fixture jigsaw

Middlesbrough must visit Tottenham in their Premiership survival fight on Thursday week - just two days after their FA Cup semi-final replay against Chesterfield. The new date for the League game was agreed yesterday after north London police rejected a Friday night kick-off.

Middlesbrough, who start an eight-games-in-26-days finish to the season with their Coca-Cola Cup final replay against Leicester at Hillsborough tonight, backed Manchester United's plea last week to have the season extended to give their players rest between matches. But the Premier League insisted there could be no U-turn, after rejecting United's request.

Middlesbrough, like United, face four games in nine days to complete the season on 11 May. Keeping the Spurs game in the same week as the FA Cup replay was the Premier League's only alternative to an extension.

The Premier League and the Football League have now agreed to set up a special commission to produce a long-term skeleton fixture list to ensure as far as possible that a repeat of this season's congestion does not occur again.

David Elleray, who sent one player off, awarded two penalties and was involved in a controversial incident when a Chesterfield shot - as video replays clearly showed - rebounded over the line off the crossbar, yesterday did his best to deflect growing criticism of his performance in Sunday's semi-final.

He said: "I think referees accept they come under intense scrutiny every day in the media. They have to make an honest decision with their own eyes in a very quick time, and it is not easy."

The hopes of Colin Todd, the Bolton Wanderers manager, of doing a club record pounds 2.3m deal for Brann Bergen's Norwegian international striker Tore Andre Flo have been dented by the Dutch league leaders PSV Eindhoven, who were impressed when he helped knock them out of Europe earlier this season.

Dave Watson, the Everton caretaker manager, has denied reports from Italy suggesting Everton are set to sign the Roma midfielder Francesco Moriero. "As far as I'm concerned there is no truth in it," Watson said. "There will be no new signings until a new manager is appointed here at the end of the season."

Birmingham City have cancelled the contract of their Swedish international winger Anders Limpar after only a three-month spell at St Andrews. Their manager, Trevor Francis, said that signing Limpar from Everton for pounds 100,000 in January was an unsuccessful gamble.

The Football Association of Wales management committee met at a hotel near Wrexham last night to discuss the charges of racism levelled at their manager, Bobby Gould, by the Bolton striker Nathan Blake. The result is to be conveyed to today's meeting of the full FAW Council, after which an announcement will be made.

Ruud Gullit has been asked by Nelson Mandela to return to the Dutch national side for a special friendly against South Africa in June. In 1987, when the Chelsea player-manager was named European Footballer of the Year, playing for Milan, he dedicated his prize to Mandela, at the time still in prison.

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