Football: Strachan tops FA charge sheet

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The Independent Online
GORDON STRACHAN, the Coventry City manager, and five other players and back-room staff have been charged with misconduct by the Football Association following the Sky Blues' Premiership game with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 16 January.

Strachan was dismissed after a mass touchline scuffle late in the game, but the FA misconduct charge relates to his general conduct during the whole match - comments about which appeared in the report of the referee, Jeff Winter.

Strachan was reprimanded before the incident for leaving the technical area near the touchline, in which he is allowed to coach his players. He was upset at several refereeing decisions. Chelsea's kit man, Aaron Lincoln, was also sent off by Winter for his involvement in the bust-up, which led to security officials having to separate the warring factions.

Lincoln has also been charged by the FA. Its new compliance officer, Graham Bean, has now named four other alleged offenders after reviewing the incident. Two are from Coventry: the striker Noel Whelan, who was sitting on the bench because he was suspended for the game, and the goalkeeping coach, Jim Blyth. The other two were on the Chelsea bench: the unused substitute Mark Nicholls and the physiotherapist Terry Byrne.

Arsenal's disciplinary problems continue: Uefa, European football's ruling body, has extended the suspensions given to Ray Parlour and Lee Dixon.

The pair were initially given one-match bans following the Gunners' Champions' League qualifier against Lens at Wembley. Parlour has now been hit with a three-match European ban for his sending-off for violent conduct, while Dixon received a two-match suspension for "unsportsmanlike behaviour" in the same game. Both players have already served one match apiece.

Dixon was not even booked in the match but Uefa, on the evidence of its official observer, has effectively condemned him for feigning injury in order to have an opponent sent off. The Lens striker, Tony Vairelles, was dismissed in stoppage time after a clash with the right-back.

Better news for Arsenal is that their England goalkeeper, David Seaman, has returned to full training after a shoulder injury kept him out for seven games and led to speculation that he might be out for the rest of the season. The 35-year-old may make his comeback in the Premiership game against Chelsea on Sunday.

The Oxford United managing director, Keith Cox, has said that income from the club's FA Cup encounters with Chelsea have ruled out the need to sell any more players before the end of this season. Gate receipts mean that the First Division side will earn up to pounds 200,000 from the replay.

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