Football: Back puts defender Babb out of Ireland squad

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The Independent Online
PHIL BABB is out of the Republic of Ireland squad for Wednesday's European Championship qualifier against Yugoslavia in Belgrade.

The Liverpool defender has not played club football since injuring a bone in his back after colliding with an upright against Chelsea five weeks ago. With 19 players in the squad, no replacement has been called up.

There has still been no resolution of the club v country dispute, with the Football Association of Ireland insisting that its Under-21 squad assemble in Dublin tonight and the full senior squad at noon tomorrow.

Earlier, Fifa had suggested that the FAI and the English FA negotiate with the clubs with a view to a relaxation on the five-day release of players, enabling them to line up for their clubs tomorrow. The FAI has rejected that suggestion.

About 1,000 Irish fans intend to travel to the game which was originally scheduled for 10 October, but postponed until next Wednesday, and Yugoslav authorities have confirmed that the Irish fans will not have to purchase new visas to enter Yugoslavia.

Manchester United will dig up and re-turf most of the Old Trafford pitch on Sunday after the game against Blackburn. Ground staff will have 14 days to complete the work before the next home game against Leeds. The pitch was re-laid during the summer but cut up in last Sunday's 0-0 draw with Newcastle.

Crystal Palace were yesterday served with a writ for more than pounds 1m for a defaulted loan payment due to the club's former owner, Ron Noades. Altonwood Ltd, a company owned by Noades, served the writ after Palace's chairman, Mark Goldberg, failed to make a pounds 99,000 loan repayment due to the company last month.

The Oxford United winger, Joey Beauchamp, has asked for time to think over a pounds 800,000 move to Nottingham Forest.

John Barnwell has insisted the League Managers' Association is not up in arms at the continuing trend of club chairmen becoming managers - but the LMA chief executive warned of a conflict of interest in certain situations.

Lincoln City's chairman, John Reames, this week joined Noades and Carlisle's Michael Knighton in assuming control of team affairs, but Barnwell said: "I don't think these men are really the managers. They all employ coaches to carry out the football side of things."