Football: Hammam prepared to take on Wimbledon's Norwegian owner

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The Independent Online
A POWER STRUGGLE is threatening to break out at Wimbledon, where the club's former owner Sam Hammam has refused to sell any of his players to meet short-term debts - a stance which puts him in opposition to the club's new Norwegian owner, Kjell Inge Rokke.

Rokke, who with his business partner Bjorn Rune Gjelsten paid around pounds 26m for an 80 per cent stake two years ago, has told Hammam, now a director, that pounds 2m needs to be raised to meet possible debts. But Hammam says he refuses to jeopardise long-term prospects.

Rokke and Gjelsten are to bring a consultant, Svein Bakke, to improve the club's finances. Bakke met Rokke last week, and Hammam has been informed of his appointment. Bakke, father of the Leeds player Erik, has previously been in charge at the Norwegian club Sogndal and is due to arrive on Monday.

The Norwegian paper VG reported that the owners are not happy with the running of the club, and quoted Bakke as saying: "I shall go over the club organisation. I have been engaged for at least one year. In that period I shall cooperate with Sam Hammam and the rest of the staff at Wimbledon."

The England midfielder Jamie Redknapp will be out of action until March after a knee operation revealed that cartilage damage was worse than first thought. The surgery was originally described as routine.

The Derby County manager Jim Smith has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association following an outburst at an assistant referee following Derby's Premiership game against Manchester United on 20 November.

Smith was quoted as saying that the performance of the match referee Mike Reed was "biased". The Birmingham official sent off Stefan Schnoor and booked four other Derby players during United's 2-1 victory.

The executive committee of Fifa, the world's governing body, will make a crucial decision on voting for the 2006 World Cup venue when it meets in Tokyo on Monday. The 24-man committee, which will decide on the winning country on 6 July, will finalise what sounds like a run-of-the-mill issue - the voting method.

But the method it uses will have far-reaching consequences for the five candidates, England, Brazil, Germany, Morocco and South Africa. It is believed that the committee will decide either on a straight majority one-off vote or a round-by-round system where the lowest scorer would be eliminated until there is a straight vote between the two remaining candidates.

South Africa, the preferred choice of the Fifa president Sepp Blatter, would favour the straight majority vote option, but England and Germany would prefer the second method.

George Graham hopes to beat Sporting Lisbon to the pounds 3m signature of Andreas Lund. The Tottenham manager is keen to sign the Norwegian, who scored for Spurs reserves in a trial match and has impressed during his short stay.

However, Lund's Norwegian club, Molde, said yesterday that Sporting have tabled an acceptable offer for Lund and that he will be allowed to speak to them this week. However, Lund reportedly wants to move to Spurs to join his friend Steffen Iversen. If Graham is successful, it could mean the end for one of Spurs' strikers, with Chris Armstrong or Les Ferdinand on the way out.

Valencia's Adrian Ilie has confirmed he will not be fit to face Manchester United in the Champions' League game at Old Trafford on Wednesday. The 25-year-old Romanian striker is suffering from a gall-stone problem and has spent much of the past week in hospital.

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