Football: 'Hauge hitch' in Bohinen transfer

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers' bid to sign Lars Bohinen, Nottingham Forest's Norwegian international midfielder, was close to collapse last night because of the possible involvement of the disgraced agent, Rune Hauge, in the proposed pounds 700,000 transfer.

Hauge, whose licence was suspended by Fifa, football's world governing body, after his role in the George Graham affair, does not officially act for Bohinen. The player's agent when he joined Nottingham Forest from Young Boys Berne two years ago was a Swiss lawyer, Andy Gross, but speculation about Hauge's part in brokering his projected move to Ewood Park prompted Blackburn to seek clarification from the FA before proceeding.

Both Blackburn and Bohinen would face severe penalties from Fifa if the deal went through and it transpired that Hauge, a fellow Norwegian, had any sort of role in it. An FA official warned last night that the player could be banned for 12 months and fined 50,000 Swiss francs (pounds 28,000).

Among the penalties Blackburn might face were a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs, a worldwide ban from all transfer activity and possible suspension from football. In the circumstances, the champions seem certain to put their pursuit of Bohinen on hold until they are certain of Hauge's role.

The FA official added: "We have written to Blackburn to ask for their observations on Mr Hauge's alleged involvement." However, the Forest manager, Frank Clark, cast doubt on suggestions that Hauge might be working behind the scenes. Clark confirmed that Hauge had not been involved when Bohinen came to Nottingham from Berne. "I've never dealt with Mr Hauge in connection with Lars at any stage of his time with us," he said. "I'd be very surprised if he was sorting this one out."

One transfer that did go through yesterday saw Ruel Fox complete his pounds 4.2m move from Newcastle to Tottenham. "There was no hurry [to complete the deal] as Ruel could not play in our Coca-Cola tie at Chester and we don't have a League game until Saturday week," Gerry Francis, the Spurs manager, said.

"Ruel is just what we need," Francis added. "He's a quality player capable of playing on either flank or down the middle. He proved his capabilities last season when he hit 10 goals in 40 League games to finish only a couple behind Newcastle's leading scorer, Peter Beardsley."

The 27-year-old Ipswich-born player was on the verge of England honours after playing a leading role as Norwich City finished third in the Premiership in 1993, and subsequently enjoyed a successful Uefa Cup run. He moved north to Newcastle for pounds 2.25m in February last year.

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