Football: Officials side with Spartak

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The Independent Online
SPARTAK MOSCOW, whose blunder in fielding an apparently ineligible player may allow Liverpool back into the European Cup-Winners' Cup, are being defended by the Russian Football Union against the charge.

Spartak are being investigated by Uefa's disciplinary committee after they used Mikhail Rusayev in their first and second-round ties against Avenir Beggen of Luxemburg and Liverpool, and the RFU's deputy head, Lev Zarakhovich, left for Zurich yesterday.

The Russian federation say they sent a telex to Uefa which stated that as Rusayev had been playing for the German Second Division club, Oldenburg, as an amateur, he did not need an international transfer certificate to join Spartak in the summer. Uefa will make a decision by the end of the week.

Liverpool's manager, Graeme Souness, seems likely to escape disciplinary action over his outburst following Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in the Coca-Cola Cup. Souness attacked Palace's tough tackling and the leniency of referee Brian Hill.

Ron Noades, the Palace chairman, has imposed a 10 per cent pay cut at Selhurst Park. Leading by example, he has included himself, though the players, manager Steve Coppell and his assistant Alan Smith are all exempt.

With average gates down by 3,000 and lottery income falling, Noades felt he had no alternative. 'I had the choice of making people redundant or imposing a 10 per cent across-the-board pay cut,' he said.

Vinny Jones has been given another week to consider whether to appeal against the pounds 20,000 fine for his part in the video Soccer's Hard Men. Jones had originally said he would not appeal.

At beleaguered Barnet, the assistant manager Ed Stein appealed for calm following the sacking of Barry Fry. 'We need a bit of stability, otherwise all the good work that we have put in is destined to go down the pan,' he said. Stein is taking over team affairs temporarily, though he insists he does not want the job for good.

One caretaker manager who does want a permanent job is Cambridge United's Gary Johnson, but he will have to wait until tomorrow to discover his fate. In charge as caretaker since the sacking of John Beck in October, Johnson must hope that the Coca- Cola Cup victory over Oldham on Tuesday will swing the case.

Hristo Stoichkov, who was reinstated in the Bulgarian side after criticising his omission, set up the opening goal in the 2-0 World Cup win over Israel in Tel Aviv that took Bulgaria to the top of Group Six. National coach Dimitri Panev said he would leave out Stoichkov and Trifon Ivanov after they played for their clubs at the weekend.

Italian First and Second Division players are to carry banners denouncing racism on to pitches before league games on 13 December, one of a number of initiatives aimed at preventing the growth of right-wing extremism among fans.