Football: Barnet players sign new contracts

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The Independent Online
THE players of Third Division Barnet last night signed new contracts following a six-hour meeting with officials of the Football League which brings to an end their dispute over wages with the chairman, Stan Flashman.

Flashman was also present for the talks along with Barnet's manager, Barry Fry, and the deputy chief executive of the players' union, Brendan Batson, which were held at a north London country club. Afterwards, Flashman said: 'Everything has been sorted out. Everything is back to normal and the deals have been done. The players are happy, the PFA are happy, the Football League are happy, and so am I. There's never been any problems over wages. It's just been a matter of sorting out the detail.'

His players would dispute the last bit. They were furious last week to discover a shortfall of between pounds 75- pounds 100 in their pay packets and threatened a walk-out before their game with Crewe on Saturday. Flashman in turn had threatened to close the club down.

Rick Parry, the chief executive of the Premier League, says he will 'vigorously defend' a writ for pounds 2.5m issued against him and the League by a Swiss bank, which claims it is owed money for assistance with the League's pounds 304m TV contract with BSkyB.

The Swiss Bank Corporation says it has a letter sent to Parry in May, two weeks before the Sky deal was concluded, specifying the percentage it would receive. Parry is alleged to have signed the letter, but yesterday he denied any agreement was struck.

'The advice from our lawyers is that we have a strong defence to this writ and so we are resisting it,' he said. 'We will be defending it vigorously and believe we can do so successfully.'

Gillingham, bottom of the Football League, have named Glenn Roeder, the former Leyton Orient, QPR, Newcastle and Watford defender, as team coach. He succeeds Damien Richardson, who was sacked as manager two weeks ago.

The Leeds United left-back, Tony Dorigo, misses tonight's Coca-Cola Cup second-round second-leg game at Scunthorpe. Dorigo injured his groin in the 2-1 defeat at Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday and misses his first cup tie since joining Leeds from Chelsea for pounds 1.3m 17 months ago.

The Wales midfielder, Gary Speed, is favourite to switch into the vacant spot and, with a 4-1 advantage from the first leg, the Leeds manager, Howard Wilkinson, may rest some of his overworked first-team players. Rocastle, Sellars, Hodge, Shutt and Wetherall are all in contention for a call-up.

The Irish international striker, Johnny Byrne, yesterday joined Millwall from Sunderland. Byrne said: 'I know I can't get into this side at the moment the way that they've been playing. But I'm pleased to be back in the capital after a spell in the North-east.'

Hoddle's key, Celtic's future, page 26