Football: Graham anger at Hungary friendly

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The Independent Online
THE TOTTENHAM manager, George Graham, has joined the growing band of Premiership managers who believe England should call off next Wednesday's friendly international against Hungary in Budapest.

Graham fears that Kevin Keegan is ready to exclude any players from the top three Championship-chasing clubs when the England coach names his squad for the match on Thursday. "That would be out of order," he said. "How can that be fair on the rest of us? He can't just pull out players because their clubs are in a position to win something.

Benfica confirmed yesterday that they have terminated Graeme Souness's contract as coach. Jupp Heynckes, the German who coached Real Madrid to their first European Cup in 32 years last year, will take over at the end of the season.

Benfica are third in the Portuguese League and in danger of missing out on the European Champions' League next season. With six games to go, they are nine points adrift of leaders Porto and four behind Boavista.

Aston Villa have offered Hapoel Haifa pounds 750,000 for the 25-year-old Israeli international left-back, Najuan Graiev. John Gregory, the Villa manager, also hopes to sign another Israeli, the playmaker Haim Revivo, from the Spanish club Celta Vigo.

Trevor Francis, the Birmingham manager, admitted yesterday that his request for his squad to donate pounds 400 per man to a charity providing aid to Kosovo refugees had not met with unanimous support. Unease among some players led to a team meeting to discuss the matter, but Francis denied that an afternoon training session had been a "punishment" for not backing his gesture.

Newcastle United have reached a deal to buy the Paris St-Germain defender Alain Goma. The 26-year-old centre-back is expected to arrive in the summer in a pounds 3.5m move.

Sunderland have made their first signing as they build a squad to keep them in the Premiership next season. The midfielder Carsten Fredgaard, nicknamed `Lightning' in his native Denmark, signed a four-year contract yesterday after joining for pounds 1.8m from Lyngby.

Derby had two pieces of bad news when they lost their appeal against Russell Hoult's three-match ban and Francesco Baiano joined the club's injury list.

Hoult was sent off for serious foul play against Nottingham Forest on 10 April and the FA has upheld referee Graham Barber's decision. Baiano could be out for the rest of the season after he aggravated a rib injury in the Forest game.