FA needs to look abroad

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The Independent Online
The Football Association has come in for criticism for its handling of "disciplinary" matters like Paul Merson's recreational problem and Tottenham's past pecuniary practices. It could do worse than adopt the politician's approach and point to the state of things elsewhere, like Brazil. Edmundo, of Palmeiras, has secured his place in the national championship final simply by playing the Brazilian federation's appeals procedure to perfection.

He was banned for four games plus 30 days for his part in a brawl during a derby against Sao Paulo in October. Palmeiras appealed and Edmundo's suspension was lifted until there was another hearing in November. A tribunal then increased the ban to five games and 40 days, and Palmeiras appealed again, to the supreme tribunal. So the ban was lifted again until that august body sits, probably in January, and, hey presto, Edmundo could play in the final against Corinthians. And, of course, he scored as Palmeiras won the first leg 3-1.

*** The Argentinian sharp-shooter Gabriel Batistuta has surrendered to the style police. The Fiorentina forward has had his hair cut. After consulting his mother and his wife, he obeyed the diktat of his national coach, Daniel Passarella, and left his long locks on the floor of Luciano's barber's shop in Florence.

*** Here are a few suggested presents from beyond the club shop. Computer lovers might appreciate something from the more economical end of the market in football management games, like Sick As A Parrot, Goal and 1-0. Both SAAP and 1-0 feature club action, the former concentrating on the development of existing talent at the club for progress in the Premiership, where your chosen club automatically appears with player potential suitably adjusted. The graphic representation of matches is not spectacular but this is a more cerebral game than most. It can be geared at various levels of difficulty to find their feet.

1-0 has been updated to include all the recent FIFA rule changes, and depends more on the action of the match, putting you on the bench rather than the training ground. Footballing or financial failure will get you, the manager, sacked. The transfer market has much more of an impact, and unlike SAAP it is possible to bring a club from the Third Division to the Premiership and even a European super league. Goal is a version for budding national managers.

Goal and 1-0, only for IBM compatibles with 460k and 480k available RAM respectively, come from: new era software, PO Box 19, Livingston, EH27 8EH, Scotland. The games are £20 each or £35 for both.

SAAP, for IBMs or Amiga, costs £12 (with manual) from: Midnight Oil, Dept PCR, 18 Hazelmere Road, Stevenage, SG2 8RX.

Just £12.99 will buy Hughesie! The Red Dragon (Mainstream Publishing). This autobiography, written with David Meeks, covers all aspects of Mark Hughes's career. Much can be learned from it about the player and the game.

Gladys Protheroe. . . Football Genius will suit some tastes. Simon Cheetham's perverse peek through the eyes of an 87-year-old woman - player, coach and confidante to the great and good in the game - has its moments, though it is something of a one-joke 200-pager. At £5.95, though, it is worth a dip - especially if buying it for someone else.

Did people send in Pantomime XI competition? Oh yes they did. Robert Clare, of Oxford, takes the Wild Turkey for:

PANTOMIME XI: DYKSTRA Whittingham; Fairy McQUEEN, HANSEN and CHETTLE, BEN-ALI Baba, PrINCE Charming, Mother GOSS, TinkerBELL, Old King COLE, PUSKAS in Boots, BUTTons.

Next week: A Winter XI. Entries to: Football Diary, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

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