FA to support Irish re-match

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The Independent Online
BY GUY HODGSON

A barrier to England replaying their abandoned match with the Republic of Ireland was removed yesterday when the Football Association said it would support a call for a new attempt to stage the friendly international.

The first was abandoned a fortnight ago because of crowd violence but both coaches, Terry Venables and Jack Charlton, have indicated they would like to play again. They are likely to reinforce that point when they meet as part of ITV's European Champions' League coverage tonight.

Mike Parry, an FA spokesman, yesterday confirmed Lancaster Gate will be guided by Venables, saying: "If the Engand coach comes to us and says `we have a plan to reschedule the game', then I wouldn't expect anyone here to stand in his way." A date in May is the most probable.

An England side will play in Dublin on Monday 27 March, when the Uefa Under-21 Championship qualifying match takes place at Dalymount Park after being switched from Cork.

Manchester City are ready to pay £1.5m to make Maurizio Gaudino's move to Maine Road permanent. The German international has been on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt since December and has convinced his manager, Brian Horton, that he will prosper in English football.

"Maurizio is coming on in leaps and bounds with every match," Horton said. "He came over here to a bit of a culture shock when he was one of only two midfielders in a 4-2-4 system, but the longer he has been with us the more he has found his feet.

"He is the type of player you have to build a team around to get the best out of him. Manchester United have done it with Eric Cantona and there is no reason why we can't give Maurizio a similar role."

United, who will be without the suspended Cantona until October, learnt that they will be deprived of another striker yesterday, when Paul Scholes tore ankle ligaments in training. He will be out for at least a month.

The Gillingham manager, Mike Flanagan, has been made redundant by the administrators currently running the affairs of the Third Division club. Flanagan was given the news in a meeting with the joint receiver, Tom Burton, who has put the player-coach, Neil Smillie, in charge of team affairs until further notice.

Mr Burton said: "In order to keep the club playing until a buyer is found, we have to keep the overheads to an absolute minimum. The redundancy is as a result of the continual review of club costs and cash flow."

Dave Whelan, who broke his leg in the 1960 FA Cup final playing for Blackburn Rovers, took control of Wigan Athletic yesterday. The chairman, Stephen Gage, and director Nick Bitel, the previous majority shareholders, will stay on the board.

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