Football: Charlton intensify the fight with Fifa

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The Independent Online
CHARLTON ATHLETIC will find out today whether they have to release their captain, Mark Kinsella, and their first-choice goalkeeper, Sasa Ilic, for next week's rearranged Yugoslavia v Republic of Ireland European Championship qualifier.

The pair have been named in their respective countries' squads for the 18 November fixture, which was moved back from last month because of the tense political situation in the Balkans at the time.

Under Fifa regulations, clubs must release their players five days before an international - and that would result in Kinsella and Ilic missing Charlton's Premiership game with Middlesbrough on Saturday. Now the south London club have accused the two nations and world football's ruling body of failing to give them at least 14 days' notice of the rearranged game.

A Fifa spokesman said yesterday: "The case has been referred to the Players' Status Committee. It is responsible for dealing with any situation where there's a dispute or uncertainty about a player's availability. We're waiting for its decision tomorrow."

So far Charlton have failed to get the five-day rule waived or the Middlesbrough game moved - if the international had been staged on its original date of 14 October the two players would have missed no club matches. Now Charlton's managing director, Peter Varney, has written to the Football Association of Ireland and the Yugoslav FA, informing them they will not release their players until after they play against Middlesbrough.

Hull City have parted company with Mark Hateley, their player-manager. The 37-year-old former England centre- forward's job has been under threat in the wake of last week's takeover. The British Davis Cup tennis captain, David Lloyd, sold the club, claiming a lack of support in the city.

Hull's experienced midfielder, Warren Joyce, was in caretaker charge for last night's home game against Brighton. Russell Slade, the youth-team coach at Sheffield United and a former Notts County manager, has been linked with the vacancy.

Aston Villa are giving trials to two goalkeepers: Petr Erkelmen from TPS Turku, who is a Finnish Under-21 international, and a 26-year-old American, Marcus Hahnemann from Colorado Rapids.

Sheffield Wednesday have made an enquiry about Celtic's Swedish striker, Henrik Larsson. Stoke City have accepted a pounds 150,000 offer from Dundee for Steven Tweed, but a deal depends on the centre-back agreeing personal terms.

Wolves' caretaker manager, Colin Lee, has offered pounds 300,000 for Robert Niestroj, a 23-year-old midfield player with Fortuna Dusseldorf, despite admitting he has not seen him play. Port Vale have signed the Norwegian utility player Robin Berntsen on loan from Tromso.

Crystal Palace's defender Fan Zhiyi has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association, following an incident in his club's match at West Bromwich on 3 November. He is alleged to have manhandled the referee, Terry Heilbron.

Sir Stanley Matthews, honoured with an AXA FA Cup Legends award yesterday for his performance in the 1953 FA Cup final, believes Wembley will still maintain its status as the home of football - with or without the twin towers. "It's a matter of fact that the twin towers have to go," the 83- year-old former England winger said.

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