Football: O'Neill says he will not walk out

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The Independent Online
MARTIN O'NEILL has assured his club that he will not walk out on them to join Leeds United.

The Irishman was in talks yesterday with the chairman of Leicester City football club, John Elsom, after the Foxes had once again refused him permission to speak to Leeds.

Leicester deny O'Neill's claims that they have a verbal agreement which allows him to talk to other clubs and, while O'Neill is disappointed, he has said he will abide by the Premier League's code of conduct.

"I believe that the gentlemen's agreement was a pretty important part of our conversations in the summer," O'Neill said. "We have different interpretations of what was said. I believe it is within my remit to speak to other clubs, but I have no intention of walking out."

The Leeds chairman, Peter Ridsdale, believes it would be bad for the game if O'Neill walked out on Leicester to succeed George Graham as manager at Elland Road. He also wants clarification on whether he can speak to O'Neill - and he reiterated that he is determined to keep within the Premier League's rules.

"I don't think it helps football if Martin just walks out," Ridsdale said. "At the end of the day he has a contract and we expect people to abide within the rules."

Twelve of Europe's top clubs have asked Uefa, the governing body of European football, for closer co-operation in the organisation of the Champions' League and have insisted on having more input in financial matters.

Liverpool and Manchester United joined the hosts, Milan, and Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Internazionale, Juventus, Marseilles, Porto and Real Madrid in putting pressure on Uefa to reform its tournaments. They are all likely members of the proposed European super league.

Last week Uefa announced changes to the format of the Champions' League, expanding the competition from 24 to 32 clubs next season, when the Uefa Cup and Cup-Winners' Cup will also be merged.

Mark Bosnich has been charged by the Football Association for allegedly swearing at Everton fans at Goodison Park on 15 August. The Aston Villa goalkeeper is likely to face a suspension if he is found guilty, having been warned about his future conduct two years ago for making a Nazi-style salute at Tottenham.

The Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt will miss the Champions' League game against Brondby next week after being given a two-match ban. He missed United's last match, against Bayern Munich, following his red card for handball against Barcelona and Uefa has suspended him for another game.

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, has denied claims that the club is refusing to allow fans into the training ground following the fracas involving John Hartson and Eyal Berkovic.

"I was very upset to read how we were supposed to have turned away a father and his young son yesterday," Redknapp said. "That is a blatant lie. As long as I am at this club, the fans will always be welcome to come and watch us."