Football: Full-time referees on way

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THE PREMIERSHIP is set to pay six full-time referees from the start of next season.

Philip Don, the Premier League's referees' officer, is finalising a plan to go before the December meeting of the 20 Premiership club chairmen.

Mr Don said: "We're looking at next season. There would be a maximum of six full-time refs initially and we would take it from there. We are likely to have a full-time group of referees next season if everything goes through. They will be employed by the Premier League and paid a salary."

Don added that there were no plans to make all the referees full-time. "It may not be the best course of action. There may be some who would be quite happy doing what they are doing at the moment," he said.

Meanwhile, the referee Paul Alcock has spoken about how he considered retirement following the incident in which he was pushed to the ground by the Sheffield Wednesday striker, Paolo Di Canio. While Di Canio was preparing for today's disciplinary hearing at Bramall Lane to answer a misconduct charge arising from the incident during the game against Arsenal last month, Alcock said he would carry on in the game. "I am not going to let an incident like that stop me refereeing," he said.

The dispute between Uefa and the company hoping to initiate a European Super League has entered its next round.

Media Partners International, the European sporting rights firm which is backing the setting-up of a Super League, has lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission against Uefa and its members, whom it charges with abusing their dominant market position and violating European Union competition laws. MPI said it has taken the action to protect clubs which want to join the Super League from Uefa sanctions.

The Slovakian international midfielder Lubomir Moravcik is leaving MSV Duisburg for Celtic, the German Bundesliga club said yesterday. Celtic have agreed to pay around pounds 400,000 for the 33-year-old Moravcik, who has hardly played for Duisburg since arriving from the French side, Bastia, in the summer.