Football: Houllier seeks FA hearing

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The Independent Online
GERARD HOULLIER has requested a personal hearing to defend himself against a misconduct charge laid by the Football Association.

The Liverpool manager was shocked to discover that, 17 days after his criticism of the Birmingham referee Mike Reed, it has been decided to bring him before Lancaster Gate's disciplinary bosses. The reason for the delay is that the FA's "sleaze buster", Graham Bean, has been on holiday.

Reed, who sent off Jamie Carragher at Charlton to spark Houllier's outburst, did not complain to the FA about Houllier's comments. Instead he left it in Bean's hands by sending him newspaper cuttings and a covering letter asking for the FA's observations. That has eventually meant that what Houllier said was considered serious enough to charge him.

Coventry's chairman, Bryan Richardson, has been fined pounds 500 and warned about his conduct over remarks he made to another referee, Steve Dunn, after his club's 2-1 defeat at Wimbledon in December. Carlisle's chairman, Michael Knighton, has also been fined pounds 250 and warned about his conduct after commenting about the referee after his team's game against Hartlepool on 12 December.

Derby's Argentinian defender, Horacio Carbonari, has been given a pounds 1,000 and a suspended one-match ban as a result of a misconduct charge for crowd incitement after scoring against Nottingham Forest in a 2-2 draw in November.

Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish's consortium, which includes the rock musician Jim Kerr, have distanced themselves from speculation linking the former Kop idol with an Anfield takeover. A Liverpool statement read: "Liverpool FC has had no approaches from anyone wanting to buy the club."

Aston Villa's manager, John Gregory, was also busy countering rumours. He dismissed reports linking him with a move to Atletico Madrid as Arrigo Sacchi's replacement as "pure speculation."

Similarly, Tottenham have dismissed reports linking their captain, Sol Campbell, with a multi-million pound move to Real Madrid.

Campbell yesterday had his court case for the alleged assault of a steward at Derby's Pride Park adjourned until 30 March. The case will be heard by Derby magistrates after Tottenham's Worthington Cup final against Leicester and three days after England's European Championship qualifying match against Poland.

The problems at Crystal Palace are mounting. Their intended fund-raising sale of Lee Bradbury to Birmingham City has been called off, because Palace have not yet paid Manchester City for him. Bradbury joined Palace five months ago in a deal worth pounds 1.2m up front and the rest based on appearances. However City are still waiting for the money.

John Gorman, Glenn Hoddle assistant when he was England's coach, has succeeded his fellow Scot Stewart Houston as first team coach at Ipswich Town. Houston joined Tottenham after Saturday's match at Bristol City, linking up again with George Graham, with whom he had a successful partnership at Arsenal.