Football: FA threaten City with fine and crowd ban

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER CITY must play with the threat of a pounds 50,000 fine and the prospect of having to close their ground for one match hanging over them after a Football Association Commission imposed suspended punishments on the club yesterday.

The penalties, suspended until the end of the 1993-94 season, resulted from an investigation into the pitch invasion at Maine Road during City's sixth-round FA Cup match against Tottenham last month. About 150 spectators ran on to the pitch, forcing the referee to take the teams off, three minutes before the end of the live televised match, which Spurs won 4-2.

Peter Swales, the chairman of Manchester City, described his club as being on a knife edge as a result. 'You might think that pounds 50,000 is not all that frightening but a game behind closed doors is,' he said. 'That could cost us a quarter of a million pounds if it affects a big match.'

He said that 60 of the invaders had already been banned from Maine Road for life and that the hunt for the remainder would go on.

Swales was adamant that a return to perimeter fencing was not the answer. 'We think fences are counter-productive and I think that the FA and police agree with that.'

Full-back Gary Charles, fined pounds 1,600 this week for not completing a breath test after a motoring incident, may not play for Nottingham Forest again. He has been dropped for today's game at Wimbledon and is then suspended until the end of the season, when his contract expires.

Fifa, the game's world governing body, wants professionals officiating in all national league matches, but the move will be resisted in England.

Barry Fry is suing his former club, Barnet, for pounds 100,000 in unpaid fees. Fry gave up the manager's job at the Third Division club this month to take over at First Division Southend.

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