Football: Southgate escapes with warning

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The Independent Online
THE ASTON VILLA defender Gareth Southgate escaped a ban yesterday when he attended a personal hearing in London to answer a Football Association misconduct charge.

Southgate was sent off by referee Jeff Winter for two bookable offences during Villa's game against Leicester City at Filbert Street in September and faced a misconduct charge over comments made to the official. But an FA spokeswoman revealed that Southgate had been fined pounds 5,000 and warned as to his future conduct.

The FA disciplinary commission took into account Southgate's "exceptionally good disciplinary record" and an apology from the player.

Southgate's second caution was for a foul on Emile Heskey, but the Villa manager, John Gregory, accused the England striker of "conning" the referee.

Gregory is also facing a misconduct charge for comments made to Winter but has decided not to appeal against his charge. He will be informed by letter of the FA's decision before the governing body make his fate public.

The Villa manager is no stranger to the disciplinary commission after receiving a pounds 2,000 fine for comments made to the referee Uriah Rennie in his side's opening game of the season at Newcastle.

He remained unrepentant after that hearing last month and called fourth officials "jobsworths" after learning of his punishment.

Georgi Kinkladze may not receive clearance in time to make his Derby debut against Arsenal on Sunday. The Georgian midfielder is still waiting for his work permit to come through, after the Football Appeals Review Panel conducted a hearing on Tuesday.

Derby were hoping to get the go-ahead yesterday but, unless Kinkladze is registered with the FA by noon today, he will be unable to play at Highbury. The review panel, which sat because he has not played enough international games, is believed to have recommended Kinkladze - who is on loan from Ajax until the end of the season - should be allowed to play for the Rams. But the decision still needs to be ratified by Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities.

However, there is better news for Derby regarding Avi Nimni, the Israeli midfielder. He was due to play for the Rams reserves against Chelsea last night after signing for the club in a three-month loan deal from Maccabi Tel Aviv with a view to a permanent move. The Pride Park club received a work permit and international clearance for the 27-year-old yesterday.