Football: FA charges 27 in Leicester ticket inquiry

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THE LEICESTER City players Tony Cottee and Andrew Impey have been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over the way they allegedly distributed tickets allocated to them for this year's Worthington Cup final.

The FA statement reads: "A total of 27 members of the playing and coaching staff of Leicester City have been charged with misconduct following an FA investigation into the distribution of tickets for the 1999 Worthington Cup final.

"Two of the players, Tony Cottee and Andrew Impey, have been charged with misconduct relating to the way in which they distributed tickets allocated to them. Twenty five others have been charged with misconduct for allegedly failing to assist an FA inquiry. Andrew Impey has also been charged with misconduct over failing to assist an FA inquiry.

"The players and coaching staff at Leicester City were given a deadline by the FA to return forms which stated to whom they had allocated their tickets."

Another 25 City players and officials are also charged with misconduct for allegedly failing to assist an FA inquiry into the matter, including the captain, Matt Elliott, and regular first-team players Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage, Frank Sinclair, Muzzy Izzet and Steve Guppy.

The FA conducted a six-month inquiry into alleged illegal ticketing which caused segregation problems and led to violence in the first half of City's meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.

The FA spokesman, Steve Double, said: "We have been involved in a detailed long-running inquiry in an effort to get to the bottom of events. We saw some extremely worrying crowd scenes at the Worthington Cup final."

Leicester now have 14 days in which to respond to the charge and to decide whether to seek personal hearings.

John Elsom, the Leicester chairman, did not comment last night on the charges, instead criticising the FA "trouble-shooter" Graham Bean for his conduct of the investigation. "All two of the individual charges relate to the completion of forms," Elsom said. "No deadline for the return of the forms was given to the players by the FA's Graham Bean when he came to Filbert Street to conduct interviews. Although a date was phoned to the club several days later, this was during a period when the players were playing two matches a week. They might have expected a little more understanding from the FA for returning their forms a few days' late."

Elsom added: "The FA only had to phone the club to tell them there was a problem for Leicester City to co-operate as strongly as we have done throughout the whole investigation. The club are extremely disappointed with the FA, who have been far too hasty with their actions."