Football: Di Canio set for FA meeting

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The Independent Online
AN OFFICIAL from the Football Association is to meet the Italian striker Paolo Di Canio after his latest comments about the referee, Paul Alcock.

West Ham's controversial striker cast doubt on Alcock's claims that he suffered physically as a result of Di Canio pushing him over after being sent off while playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal at Hillsborough last September.

The Italian earned an 11-match ban for the offence, and the FA is determined to prevent any further detrimental moves by the Italian by serving a warning to him in person.

"The FA compliance officer, Graham Bean, will be meeting with Paolo Di Canio next week to discuss his remarks with a view to warning him about his future conduct," an FA spokesman said. "We feel that it is obviously time to draw a line under this episode."

Tottenham have been accused of making an illegal approach to the Ipswich coach Stewart Houston in their attempts to persuade him to become George Graham's No 2.

The move comes as little surprise, given that during their five years together at Arsenal from 1990 Graham and Houston won the title in 1991, a domestic cup double in 1993 and the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1994.

The Ipswich chairman, David Sheepshanks, said that he had failed in his attempts to hold Houston to his contract and claimed that Tottenham had contacted the coach a full month before finally making an official approach. He has made formal complaints to the Premier League and the Football League and is still attempting to receive compensation. Sheepshanks, the deputy chairman of the Football League, added that Houston would be leaving Ipswich after today's game at Bristol City against his wishes.

Paul Merson has spoken of his relief at being reunited with his family after fearing for their safety as they were caught up in the Alps avalanche disaster. The Aston Villa forward's wife and three children were cut off for seven days during a skiing holiday in Austria.

"You look at those sort of things happening on television and you don't pay that much attention," Merson said. "But then, when you've got your own family right in the middle of it, it really scares you to death."

Everton's manager, Walter Smith, hopes to sign Kevin Campbell, currently in dispute with Trabzonspor, on loan for the rest of the season. The former Arsenal striker wants to leave the Turkish side after falling out with the chairman.

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