Football: FA's delay on England job

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THE Football Association last night cancelled plans to announce the appointment of Terry Venables as England's new manager, pending 'further investigations' into his spell as chief executive at Tottenham Hotspur.

Sir Bert Millichip, the FA chairman, said nothing 'sinister' should be read into the decision, which came on the day when Alan Sugar, the man who sacked Venables from Spurs, gave evidence to a Premiership commission of inquiry into the club's affairs.

A suggestion that Sugar had furnished the hearing with 'conclusive proof' that Venables had contravened FA rules was described by Millichip as 'pure speculation'. The report was at odds with what the Tottenham chairman said as he went into the hearing, when he said he had 'nothing new' to tell the panel.

Millichip said there would not now be the appointment he had wanted in time for the European Championship draw in Manchester on Saturday.

The original intention had been to confirm that Venables was to be the new manager today, in advance of an inaugural press conference at Wembley tomorrow. Millichip said that was now out of the question, and that there would be no appointment this week. 'We need time to investigate matters further.'

Graham Kelly, the FA's chief executive, insisted the five-man sub-committee whose job it is to appoint the new manager were still 'as one' on the subject. In that event, Venables remains favourite to get the job, probably next week, upon completion of the Premiership's investigation into Tottenham's financial affairs during his brief administration, which ended in acrimony last summer.