Football: FA spotlight on lasers

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The Independent Online
The Football Association yesterday spelt out the danger of fans directing mini laser beams at players during matches. The problem was highlighted again during Tuesday's Coca-Cola Cup game between Leicester City and Wimbledon at Filbert Street, when a red beam was constantly directed on the back of the head of Wimbledon's Vinnie Jones as he took long throws.

Last month, Aston Villa banned the battery-operated lasers, available for between pounds 30 and pounds 150, from Villa Park after one was directed towards the dug-out area during the game against Newcastle United.

"We have written to all clubs alerting them that this laser appears to be in use and of it being a potential hazard," FA spokesman Steve Double said.

Everton were facing competition from Middlesbrough for the Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer yesterday. The Bradford City player will be allowed to meet the Everton manager, Joe Royle, to discuss personal terms on a proposed pounds 1.4m move. Royle's offer is straight cash, while Robson is willing to give Bradford pounds 500,000 plus the transfer-seeking Alan Miller.

The former West Ham manager, Billy Bonds, has joined First Division Reading as first-team coach. Reading's joint player-managers, Mick Gooding and Jimmy Quinn, have been sharing coaching duties since Richard Hill became assistant manager at Wycombe Wanderers in November.

The Oxford United manager, Denis Smith, has dismissed reports that the First Division club is about to become involved in an ambitious player loan scheme with Juventus. Robin Herd, the Oxford chairman, had said 24 hours earlier that negotiations were at an advanced stage with the European and world club champions.

Yesterday, however, Smith said: "I know everyone is making statements but I tell you what, there is more chance of us getting holidays on the moon in the next couple of years. It is a rumour at the moment from people in the club who should know better."

The Australian international Tony Vidmar has agreed to join Rangers in the summer. The Scottish champions have moved to seal a deal for 26-year- old Vidmar, a versatile defender with the Dutch team, NAC Breda.

Chesterfield's FA Cup quarter-final against Wrexham on Sunday 9 March has been moved again to fit in with television schedules. The all-Second Division tie will now kick off at 11.30am so that BBC Wales can screen the game live.

Wigan Athletic have opened talks with the former Manchester United and England defender, Paul Parker. The 32-year-old has expressed an interest in joining Wigan on a short-term contract next month once his newly opened London wine bar is running smoothly.

Mick Buxton yesterday became the season's latest managerial casualty when he left Scunthorpe United by mutual consent. The Third Division club suffered to a 2-0 home defeat by Chester on Tuesday in front of a crowd of only 1,524. They have lost five of their last seven League games and lie 16th in the table.

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