Football: Flashman threat to Barnet game

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The Independent Online
THERE was a new twist in the Barnet saga yesterday, when the Third Division promotion contenders' squad went en masse to the north London home of their chairman, Stan Flashman, to protest at not being paid for two weeks, writes Phil Shaw.

They were met by Flashman's wife, Helen, who said they would be paid if the Football League released a pounds 150,000 bond lodged by the club. According to the players' spokesman, David Howell, Flashman later fined them two weeks' wages for complaining, and said he would have tonight's match at Scarborough called off.

Flashman then promised they would be paid tomorrow. Barnet's manager, Barry Fry, promised to fulfil the fixture, but criticised the Professional Footballers' Association for failing to resolve the crisis.

'We are aware of reported developments at Barnet,' Ian Cotton, a Football League spokesman, said. 'We are not aware of any threat to the Scarborough-Barnet game, but a club calling off a fixture must be aware there could be serious consequences.'

Ron Atkinson, the Aston Villa manager, yesterday dismissed as 'outrageous' reports that the Premier League title challengers may have points docked because of irregularities over the way in which the signing of their Australian goalkeeper, Mark Bosnich, was conducted by an agent.

The agent, Graham Smith, who is a former West Bromwich Albion keeper, allegedly received pounds 150,000 for Bosnich from Villa after the player's father bought out his registration from Sydney Croatia for pounds 10,000.

Fifa do not allow players to buy their own registrations, or allow a third party to handle them, but Atkinson said: 'My information is that we've done everything correctly. People who talk about docking points are a million miles off the mark. If we finish with most points, we'll be champions.'

Gary Penrice, the Queen's Park Rangers striker, has suffered another fracture, in a training session, of the leg he broke at Middlesbrough on 9 January, and misses the rest of the season.

Leicester yesterday admitted that if they reach the First Division play-offs - for which they are on course - they will have to stage home games at Coventry or Nottingham Forest. Filbert Street's main stand is to be demolished on the Monday after the final Saturday of the regular season as part of a pounds 5m facelift.

Rangers are to appeal against an pounds 8,000 fine imposed by Uefa following alleged misconduct by their supporters in Bruges after the European Champions' League fixture on 3 March.

The official Uefa observer at the match made no complaint to the Ibrox club. However, Uefa have claimed that two incidents, in which a scarf or flag was set alight and coins thrown, were worthy of punishment.

In the Premier Division tonight, Rangers entertain second- placed Aberdeen knowing that victory would give them a formidable lead of nine points, with eight games remaining.