Football: Iranian amnesty angers Venables

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The Independent Online
Australia's coach, Terry Venables, has launched a stinging attack on Fifa after football's world governing body announced a yellow-card amnesty for Iran before tomorrow's World Cup play-off in Tehran.

Fifa has cleared four Iranian players, who were booked during the 3-2 defeat against Japan in Malaysia last weekend, to play in the game. Venables said: "Are we all following the rules here, or not? I can't even dream of why. This is definitely an unfair issue."

Soccer Australia's chairman David Hill, who had angered Iranian authorities with remarks about negative playing conditions in Tehran, said yesterday that his team was looking forward to the Iran game. Hill said that his comments about conditions in Iran were based on information provided by the Australian Foreign Ministry.

In his other guise, as the Portsmouth chairman, Venables said he would be interested in talking to the rock musician Brian Howe if the former Bad Company singer is serious about investing in the club.

The Southampton chairman, Rupert Lowe, has called on David Mellor, the head of the Government's Football Task Force, to apologise for comments he made on his radio show, which the businessman believes to be slanderous.

Last Saturday evening on BBC Radio 5 Live, Mellor criticised the way in which Lowe conducted himself during his recent takeover of the Saints.

Aston Villa will attempt to resurrect Savo Milosevic's pounds 4m transfer to Napoli today when officials from the Italian club visit Birmingham. Napoli's interest had cooled when Milosevic spoke out against the deal.

Manchester City expect new Georgian signing Murtaz Shelia to arrive tomorrow, after he failed to turn up yesterday. The defender, who is joining City in a pounds 400,000 move from the Turkish side Trabzonspor, missed his flight from Georgia.

The Italian goalkeeper Stefano Visi could become Ron Atkinson's first signing for Sheffield Wednesday. The 25-year-old, who is currently with the Serie B side Pescara, is on trial at Hillsborough.

Coventry have made pounds 3m bid for the Romanian striker Viorel Moldovan. The Sky Blues' manager, Gordon Strachan, watched Moldovan in action for his club, Grasshopper Zurich, last week.

Everton have improved their offer for the Norwegian goalkeeper Thomas Myrhe, who plays for Viking Stavanger.

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