Football: Ravanelli move denied

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The Independent Online
Fabrizio Ravanelli's advisor has poured scorn on a report that the Italian striker has left Middlesbrough for good. The Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, has confirmed that Ravanelli is not travelling on a pre-season tour of Ireland today.

But it has been claimed that Ravanelli has flown back to Italy with his brother, and is not returning to Teesside after moves to Liverpool and Everton fell through. But his advisor, Guiseppe Pagliaia, said: "This story is a disgrace. Ravanelli is in England and his immediate future is with Middlesbrough."

Robson wants Ravanelli to build up his fitness as he has not played for almost three months.

He said: "He needs to do a lot of ball work in training before he goes into matches. He'll be doing that back in Middlesbrough when we're in Ireland. I'm not setting any deadlines, because he had a bad injury towards the end of the season."

English football administrators have agreed in principle to let out- of-contract players aged 24 and move to other English clubs for nothing.

The Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association have reached a compromise which brings the English game in line with European laws brought about by the Bosman ruling.

The historic case has been responsible for a massive influx of cheap foreign talent into the Premiership as clubs search for bargains. But from next summer, clubs could also be saved from spending millions of pounds on transfer fees here with only players below the age of 23 requiring compensation to be paid to the team they are leaving.

Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, said: "We are comfortable with this agreement. Players who are aged 24 or over, who are out of contract, will be allowed to move domestically.

"If a player is out of contract at the age of 23, or younger, and decides to move, then the club losing his services would be compensated.