Football: Uefa drops Chelsea referee

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The Independent Online
UEFA, European football's governing body, yesterday took the extraordinary step of relieving the Swedish referee, Leif Sundell, together with two assistant referees, from their duties at Chelsea's European Cup-Winners' Cup quarter- final at Real Betis next week.

Sundell attended Sunday's Spanish league game between Real Betis and Espanyol, prompting a Uefa investigation. Although it found that the trio had not gone to the match as guests of the Seville club, Uefa has decided to replace the match officials for the game, on Thursday 5 March. The match will now be refereed by Atanas Ouzounov, of Bulgaria.

The Chelsea assistant manager, Gwyn Williams, welcomed the ruling as a "sensible decision". He said Sundell had been the match official in one of the club's previous European games and had found him to be an entirely competent official.

However, Williams added: "I can understand why Uefa have changed [the officials] because if they hadn't and there had been a controversial decision, then questions would have been asked. Our managing director, Colin Hutchinson, asked Uefa to make a comment about the matter and they are obviously very careful about these things."

The England defender Tony Adams has insisted that he is committed to staying with Arsenal. The 31-year-old has been linked with a move from Highbury, with Rangers reported to be interested. Adams has 18 months of his contract to run and while he may seek to renegotiate, both Adams and the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, say he is staying with the Gunners.

"I'm not about to uproot," said Adams, who has been at Arsenal all his career. "Why should I want to? My children are in London and they are very important to me. I've got a long-term commitment to Arsenal and I will be happy to stay with the club."

Adams' England team-mate, the Tottenham Hotspur striker Les Ferdinand, has been charged by the Football Association for his sharp criticism of the referee Gerald Ashby following Spurs' FA Cup defeat at Barnsley. Ferdinand described the official's performance as "disgraceful", adding that he would expect better from a parks' referee.

Ferdinand and his club-mates were incensed by Ashby's dismissal of the midfielder Steve Clemence for diving in the fourth-round replay at Oakwell. The striker was yesterday charged by Lancaster Gate with using insulting language and has been given 14 days to respond.

Luton's chief coach, Trevor Peake, is leaving the Second Division club to join the backroom staff at his former club, Coventry.

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