Football: Don backs refereeing exams for players

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The Independent Online
PHILIP DON has insisted that the Premier League is already one step ahead of Gerhard Aigner, the general secretary of Uefa, European football's governing body, who has suggested that players must take a referee's test before they sign a professional contract.

The Premier League referees' officer believes the idea is nothing new to the game, given that the Football League abolished a similar educational scheme eight years ago. Now Don is hoping to resurrect the plan in order to create more understanding between players and officials for the future.

"Up until 1991, all Youth Training Scheme players had to take a test in the laws of the game," Don said. "At the moment, on a scholarship course among Premiership academies, there is a module players take on the laws of the game.

"Academy players used to have to pass exams in the laws of the game. That was discontinued around 1991, but we are hoping to bring it back."

Sheffield Wednesday are to give a week's trial to the former German international Marco Haber, currently with Las Palmas of the Spanish Second Division.

Vitesse Arnhem's Dutch winger Willem Korsten will complete a pounds 1.5m move to Leeds within the next week after spending the last three months on loan at Elland Road.

Halifax Town have released their player-manager, Kieran O'Regan, and his assistant, Andy May. O'Regan took over at The Shay from George Mulhall on Halifax's return to the Nationwide League in August.

The Marseilles striker Titi Camara has claimed that he will join Liverpool in the close season. The 26-year-old said negotiations with the Anfield club were at an advanced stage. "There is a big chance of me playing for Liverpool next season even if nothing is signed yet," he said. "I should be signing my contract when the transfer market reopens in May."

The League Managers' Association has offered support to the Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, over his initial response to Robbie Fowler's now-infamous goal celebration in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Houllier had at first claimed that Fowler had been imitating a celebration performed in training by his Cameroon defender, Rigobert Song, which depicted "eating the grass", but it was apparent to most observers that Fowler had been mimicking the act of "snorting" a line of cocaine.

"All managers with any feeling for their players will immediately jump to their defence, which is what Gerard did," the LMA chief executive, John Barnwell, said. "That was a misjudgement which he realised and he said that the next day. He did all that he could to retract it."

The Chilean international Javier Margas, who is on the books of West Ham, has told his national coach, Nelson Acosta, he wants to retire from international football. The 29-year-old is apparently disillusioned with the international game.

Colin Hendry has given Rangers a lift in their bid for a Scottish Treble after successfully coming through a reserve game yesterday. The Scotland international has been out of action with tendinitis but came through 76 minutes of a 1-0 victory over Dundee unscathed.

Predrag Mijatovic yesterday agreed to resume playing for Real Madrid, the fourth Spanish-based Yugoslav to drop a boycott against playing while Nato strikes continue against their country. Mijatovic was fined 5.5m pesetas (pounds 23,000) and threatened with expulsion from Real's first-team squad after refusing to play against Alaves on Sunday.

The Nigerian substitute Ganiyu Shittu scored two minutes after coming as a second-half substitute in his side's 2-0 victory over Germany at the World Youth Championship yesterday. Hashimu Garba scored the hosts' second. In another upset, Peter Ofori-Quaye scored his second goal of the tournament to give Ghana a 1-0 win over Argentina.