Football: Ince charged by FA over V-sign

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The Independent Online
PAUL INCE has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association following his V-sign after he was sent off in England's Euro 2000 qualifying defeat in Sweden last month.

The Liverpool midfielder has already received a three-match ban from Uefa, European football's governing body, for his red card and the comments he made to the Italian referee, Pierluigi Collina, as he left the pitch.

Because of the existing ban, Ince, who was 31 yesterday, is ruled out of England's next qualifying match against Poland on 27 March, and he now has 14 days to respond to the FA charge. If found guilty by the FA, he could find himself fined and suspended from England's two forthcoming friendlies, against the Czech Republic on 18 November and against opposition yet to be named in February.

As Blackburn Rovers pursue Dean Saunders to help ease their injury crisis, it emerged yesterday that the former Welsh international can leave Sheffield United on a free transfer because of a special clause in his contract.

The veteran striker is the surprise name on Roy Hodgson's shopping list to replace the injured Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallacher. There was more bad news for Blackburn yesterday when it was announced that the midfielder Garry Flitcroft is expected to be out for at least a month after undergoing a knee operation.

Gareth Barry could cost Aston Villa over pounds 1m. The Premiership leaders thought they had a bargain last year when they bought the 17-year-old defender for pounds 3,200 from Brighton after he rejected a contract. But a Football League appeals tribunal yesterday ruled that Brighton will also receive pounds 150,000 and further payments based on appearances. The Seagulls have also been awarded 15 per cent of future profit.

The appeals tribunal also dealt with Aston Villa's contested signing of the teenager Jay Lloyd Samuel from Charlton Athletic. Villa, who have been found guilty of an illegal approach, must pay Charlton pounds 50,000 up front, plus further payments rising to pounds 100,000 if Samuel plays for England. The London club will also receive 15 per cent of the first pounds 500,000 in any future transfer.

The injured Italian striker Michele Padovano has completed his move, for an undisclosed fee, from Crystal Palace to Metz. Stephane Guivarc'h is ready to leave Newcastle United for the German Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin in a pounds 3m deal.

Pierre van Hooijdonk, Nottingham Forest's "on-strike" Dutch striker, is wanted by another Bundesliga club, Schalke 04, but his City Ground team-mate, Steve Stone, wants to see him playing for Forest again.

The Sheffield Wednesday striker Paolo Di Canio will be represented by a new lawyer at the disciplinary hearing in Sheffield tomorrow which will pass judgement on his push on the referee, Paul Alcock. The Italian's lawyer, Claudio Mengetti, is in hospital after being injured in a car accident and will be replaced by his partner, Sandro Censi.