Football: Cantona escapes but club are fined

Click to follow
ERIC CANTONA has escaped immediate punishment for his alleged comments hinting that the referee for Manchester United's European Cup tie in Turkey last week was dishonest - a decision that pleased his club, who none the less were disappointed yesterday to learn Uefa had fined them more than pounds 2,000 for the team's misconduct.

Uefa confirmed Cantona's four- match European ban for his reported remarks and gestures towards the Swiss official, Kurt Rothlisberger, 'particularly inappropriate conduct' which earned him a red card after the final whistle in Istanbul. If the allegations made in a French newspaper had been proved, the United striker faced a lengthy international ban.

A Uefa spokesman said: 'The (disciplinary) committee concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to open an inquiry, particularly as the player has formally denied having called into question the honesty of the referee.'

In reaching its punishment, Uefa also took into account the yellow card Cantona had received earlier in the tournament. Cautions collected against Galatasaray by Steve Bruce, Paul Parker and Paul Ince, as well as the Cantona incident, brought United their fine. Their opponents were fined pounds 9,000 for allowing fireworks to be set off in their ground, and for insufficient security after the match. United have until Monday to appeal against the penalties, but are unlikely to do so.

Sir Bert Millichip, the Football Association chairman, added to the confusion surrounding Graham Taylor's future by describing as 'pure speculation' reports that the England manager could be retained, possibly working alongside a successor- to-be, even if next week's game with San Marino confirms their World Cup demise. Sir Bert said discussions would not take place until England's fate was known.

David Kohler, the chairman of Luton Town (who have re-signed Mitchell Thomas on a month's loan from West Ham) will tomorrow meet the former Fulham player, John Mitchell, who represents a consortium interested in taking over the First Division club.

Leeds United are to pay Sheffield United pounds 250,000 for their defender, John Pemberton. The former Crystal Palace player was at Elland Road yesterday for a medical and contract talks after the two clubs agreed the fee on Thursday. Pemberton was dropped and transfer-listed by United after their Coca-Cola Cup defeat by Blackpool in September.