Football: Chase attacks a lack of honour: Norwich chairman wants minimum contractual obligation for players

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The Independent Online
PLAYERS should be made to honour their contracts and help protect the welfare of the smaller clubs, says Robert Chase, the chairman of Norwich City, who are preparing for tomorrow's start of the new season without Chris Sutton, sold in the summer for a record pounds 5m fee to Blackburn Rovers.

Sutton was the latest in a long line of star players Chase has sold and, he insists, the less privileged have little choice as it stands now but to bow to the pressures from the bigger clubs.

'We had a situation where even though Chris signed a new three and a half year contract at Christmas and we repeated that we were not interested in selling, his future remained a constant source of speculation in the papers,' Chase said. 'It affects the player and is a worrying distraction for the club. Crystal Palace have a similar situation now with Everton chasing Chris Armstrong and Wimbledon have complained that talk of big-money moves has unsettled their best players.

'It would not be allowed to happen if players had to stay at least half the length of their contract or for two years, whichever is the sooner unless the club was happy to sell them.'

Norwich have guaranteed themselves a share of Sutton's worth beyond his career with Blackburn by securing a 25 per cent share of any profit Blackburn make should they let him go and a further 50 per cent of the profit on a subsequent deal.

Kenny Dalglish, the Blackburn manager, has appealed for more communication between referees and players to explain the new interpretation of the rules. His concern follows the Charity Shield match against Manchester United in which the World Cup official, Philip Don, booked seven players, four from Blackburn. He is calling on referees to visit each dressing-room and explain how they intend to interpret the new Fifa directives.

Sheffield Wednesday have finally succeeded in their summer-long quest to sign the Tranmere defender Ian Nolan. After Trevor Francis saw two pounds 1m offers rejected an improved bid of pounds 1.5m secured his man.

Liverpool stayed tight- lipped over whether they are prepared to increase their pounds 3.5m offer for the Republic of Ireland defender Phil Babb. Nevertheless it is believed they will complete the signing in time for their game tomorrow at Crystal Palace.

Celtic have been fined pounds 100,000 - a record for a Scottish League club - for improperly inducing Tommy Burns to become their manager last month. Unconnected to this matter, long-serving chairman Kevin Kelly is to resign next month.

Terry Yorath, the former Wales and Swansea manager, has been appointed general manager of Cardiff City.