Football: Ferguson pays for his jibes

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The Independent Online
ALEX FERGUSON has been fined SFr5,000 (pounds 2,200) by Uefa for "unnecessary provocation" following his anti-Italian jibes towards Internazionale last week. Ferguson started the war of words by claiming the Italian side would use every trick in the book to try to achieve victory.

United were also fined SFr30,000 for their fans setting off fireworks during the second leg of the European Cup quarter-final. Inter were fined Sfr50,000, also for a similar offence, plus the throwing of oranges and plastic bottles before and during the game, and another fine of Sfr8,000 for the improper conduct of their players.

It was confirmed yesterday that Marcello Lippi has been appointed Inter coach for next season. Lippi, whose destination has been widely rumoured since last December, resigned last month as coach of Juventus after a run of poor results.

The head of South Africa's 2006 World Cup bid said yesterday that there should be a clear-the-air meeting after accusations by the sports minister, Tony Banks, of a dirty tricks campaign.

Irvin Khoza, the chairman of the South African bid campaign, said he wanted to avoid mud-slinging and dirty tricks between the two countries in their bids to win the right to host the 2006 finals and called for a meeting between the two campaigns. But a spokesman for England's 2006 bid refused to be drawn into the discussion.

"We shall wait and see whether the South Africans contact us directly with a firm proposal rather than hear from them second-hand through the media," a spokesman said.

The Aston Villa midfielder Mark Draper has suffered a recurrence of his long-term ankle injury, limping off in pain during the closing stages of Wednesday night's reserve team game against Preston. Draper has been dogged by the ankle problem since Gregory for more than a year and finally bowed to keyhole surgery before Christmas in an attempt to solve the problem.

Barry Ferguson looks certain to miss the rest of the season for Rangers as he recovers from a fractured pelvis. The 21-year-old Scotland midfielder has been ordered to take six weeks' rest.

The Premier League has axed its proposed end of season gala awards evening, scheduled for 22 May. The event was to have been broadcast by the BBC the following day but the Premier League's spokesman, Mike Lee, said: "There are simply too many loose ends at this stage to bring together the sort of top-class event we would want the Premier League to be associated with."

The Chinese FA has announced penalties which officials hope will wipe out the corruption that is threatening the league. The crackdown includes life bans for players and officials involved in corruption.