Football: Negotiations stall on Batty move

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DAVID BATTY'S prospective move to Leeds United was held up yesterday as they failed to conclude a deal with Newcastle.

"Nothing is decided yet," Ruud Gullit, the Newcastle United manager, said. "The clubs are still negotiating. That's how it is with negotiations."

The 30-year-old midfielder is no longer training with the Magpies, and the player and both clubs are both keen to find a solution. The problem lies in their respective valuations - Newcastle's is pounds 6m, Leeds's around pounds 4.5m.

Wimbledon's Kenny Cunningham yesterday denied suggestions of a betting scandal at the club. "I haven't heard of anyone betting at this club," he said, "at least I certainly didn't. We couldn't do that at Wimbledon - not on the wages we get paid."

Wimbledon were caught in the middle of a row following a remark by their manager, Joe Kinnear, about "some of the lads" having a bet on the club winning the Worthington Cup.

Betting is in breach of Football Association rules but Kinnear insisted he was not talking about Wimbledon players but his own mates.

Derby's Jamaican World Cup striker Deon Burton yesterday joined Barnsley on a month's loan. John Hendrie, the Barnsley manager, was without a recognised forward for today's trip to Watford, but he has also brought in Bilston Town's Mike Turner.

The duo are likely to form an immediate partnership up front at Vicarage Road as Hendrie is without all four of the club's strikers, while Jan- Aage Fjortoft was sold to Eintracht Frankfurt last week. Ashley Ward starts a four-game ban, Bruce Dyer serves a one-match suspension for picking up five bookings, while Hendrie and Georgi Hristov are injured.

Hendrie said: "I know Deon's been flitting in and out of the Derby side, but he is still a good player. He went to the World Cup after all. As for a permanent deal, we will play it by ear and see how it goes."

Fifa's executive committee yesterday allocated the 32 places for the 2002 World Cup finals, leaving Asian nations to fight for two slots. With France automatically qualified as holders, and Japan and South Korea as co-hosts, the world governing body was left with one less qualifying place than in this year's tournament.

If South Korea wants to stage some of its 2002 World Cup matches in North Korea, Fifa would support such a move.

Fifa statutes do not allow a third party to participate in the World Cup finals but the executive voted to support the idea of some games being played in the North, if South Korea asks and if North Korea wants to be part of the competition.

Fifa also agreed in principle to introduce random out-of-competition drug tests for players.

Euphoria following the World Cup has triggered record attendances at French clubs this season. Almost three million people watched First Division matches between August and November, up more than 500,000 on last season.

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