Football: McManaman faces probe over agent

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The Independent Online
Steve McManaman and Barcelona are facing an investigation by world football's governing body, Fifa, for using the former Spice Girls manager, Simon Fuller, to set up a pounds 12m transfer.

Fuller works for the England midfielder and Barcelona have confirmed he has met them to revive McManaman's move for the end of the season.

However, Fifa will investigate Fuller's role in the talks as he does not hold an agent's licence and therefore cannot be involved in transfers. If Fuller is found to have broken the rules, both McManaman and Barcelona will face heavy penalties.

McManaman yesterday dismissed the reports from Spain. He said: "How can I be expected to keep commenting on something that has no truth whatsoever."

A spokesman for McManaman's club, Liverpool, who agreed a pounds 12.3m fee from Barcelona in summer only for McManaman's personal contractual talks to break down, said: "There has been no contact with Barcelona since last August."

Middlesbrough's manager, Bryan Robson, still hopes to sign Dion Dublin from Coventry, despite the striker rejecting a pounds 4m move to the First Division club on Monday. Robson said: "I think the deal is still alive."

The Boro defender Gianluca Festa is awaiting the result of his appeal against his dismissal during the 1-1 draw with Ipswich on Saturday. Robson has accused the Ipswich striker David Johnson of diving when challenged by Festa.

Bradford City's chairman, Geoffrey Richmond, yesterday named 51 clubs who support his proposal to have David Mellor removed as head of the Government's Football Task Force after the former Conservative MP queried on his BBC Radio 5 Live show whether colour had been a factor in the sacking of Chris Kamara as Bradford's manager.

Richmond wrote to the other 91 Premiership and Nationwide League clubs and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, appealing for support in his attempt to have Mellor ousted from his role on a body which has the stated aim of eliminating racism from football.

The 51 apparently supporting the campaign include six Premiership clubs: Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Newcastle, and Southampton. Two clubs, Wimbledon and Chester, support Mellor, while Leeds intend to raise the matter at tomorrow's FA Premier League meeting.

George Weah, who was linked last year with a move to Arsenal, could leave Milan at the end of the season, after an argument with the coach, Fabio Capello, over a back injury the Liberian striker suffered in the club's gym last month.

Doncaster players have refused to co-operate with an offer by Uri Geller to help Rovers climb off the bottom of the Third Division by using "positive thinking", starting by ensuring they beat Macclesfield on Saturday. Rovers had arranged a coach to Geller's home in Reading, but the manager, Mark Weaver, said: "They have been in touch with the PFA and are refusing to go. They say they have been made fools of enough this season."