Brawling clubs fined

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The Independent Online
Crystal Palace and Norwich have both been fined pounds 40,000 for the 21-player brawl at Carrow Road in December. The two First Division clubs admitted to a charge of "failing to control their players" and apologised unreservedly to the Football Association.

The match referee, Kevin Lynch, described the incident at the time as the worst he had seen in professional football.

The Crystal Palace chairman, Ron Noades, said: "The hearing was fair and I think we got a good deal." The FA committee watched video and photographic evidence before concluding that the clubs should be fined rather than docked points.

The FA spokesman, Steve Double, said: "The financial punishments we have levied are not unsubstantial and today's case will hopefully be a deterrent."

The deterrent comes too late for Chesterfield and Plymouth, who both face an identical charge following the brawl during their game at Saltergate last month. Four players were sent off in the incident.

The FA have said they will take "seriously" any complaint made to them by the Portsmouth striker Paul Hall over alleged racist remarks made to him by Manchester City's Eddie McGoldrick. Hall claims McGoldrick abused him during Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Maine Road and has reported the Republic of Ireland international to the police, but not, so far, to the FA.

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