Football: Bulgaria try to win reprieve

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By Alan Nixon

THE THREAT to England's next home game, against Bulgaria, receded yesterday when Bulgarian authorities acted to quell a row over who is in charge of the national team.

Earlier in the week, world football's governing body, Fifa, had threatened to expel Bulgaria after the government sacked leading officials, but the vice-president of the state sports committee, Atanas Georgiyev, told both Fifa and Uefa, the governing body of European football, yesterday that the Bulgarian Football Union was in full charge of all football affairs in the country.

Peter Leaver, the Premier League's chief executive, yesterday backed referees and supported tough action against disgraced Sheffield Wednesday's forward Paolo Di Canio.

"I think it was deplorable conduct and I have no doubt that when the commission of inquiry takes place Di Canio will have the opportunity to have his say - but I have no doubt that serious punishment will be handed down," Leaver said. "I think it is `pour encourager les autres' - in order to encourage everyone else and discourage others from embarking on this type of behaviour."

Leeds have been given permission to boost the capacity at Elland Road by 5,000 seats and build a new leisure complex.

The ground will be given a revamp after plans for a proposed development on the site were given the thumbs up by the Leeds City Council's planning department.

The extra seats - bringing the capacity to 45,000 - and 32 more executive boxes will be in the West Stand. The development also includes plans for an indoor arena, leisure complex and 200-bedroom hotel.

Blackburn have been dealt another injury blow with the news that Sebastien Perez will be out of action for two months.

The French midfielder, a pounds 3m summer signing from Bastia, aggravated a long-standing knee problem after scoring as Rovers bowed out of the Uefa Cup in Lyons on Tuesday night.

Perez stayed in France when the party returned home to see a specialist and it has now been confirmed he has cartilage damage.

Blackburn are hopeful that Kevin Gallacher and Martin Dahlin, both struggling with calf injuries, could be back for the visit of West Ham on Saturday to ease their striking crisis.

Manchester City boss Joe Royle has set up a move for Bradford City's Brazilian striker, Edinho - before going into hospital for a hip operation.

Royle is keen to take Edinho on loan after missing out on a similar deal for old boy Mike Sheron, who is back in the QPR team. Edinho is available at Bradford where he is out of the side. He arrived in a blaze of goals and glory but has since been replaced. City cannot afford to buy and taking Edinho would give them another goal-scorer within their limited budget. Edinho could join the club in the next 24 hours.

Huddersfield are negotiating with Swedish defender Jesper Mattsson. Mattsson, who plays for last year's champions, Halmstad, is due to fly to England on Monday for talks with Huddersfield's manager, Peter Jackson, according to reports in the Swedish media. Mattsson has a three-year contract with Halmstad but has a clause stating he can be released for about pounds 250,000 if he reaches accord with an overseas team.

Derby defender Igor Stimac has been included in Croatia's squad for the European Championship qualifier against Macedonia on 14 October.