Football: Venables contract rumours quashed

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The Independent Online


The Association yesterday quashed any suggestion that Terry Venables will be offered an extension to his contract as England coach until the next World Cup without reference to the international committee.

Responding to fears that this latter body would be bypassed, the FA's director of public affairs, David Davies, said: "Terry will resume talks with Graham Kelly, the FA's chief executive, over the next few days. When that is done, Graham will talk to the international committee in the normal way."

Earlier Oldham Athletic's chairman, Ian Stott, a member of the 15-strong committee, had called for clarification on how the decision will be made and who will make it. "What is concerning people," he said, "is to know what is the procedure under which an extension to the contract - or a rejection of that extension - will take place."

The FA Cup holders, Everton, moved quickly to repair defensive weakness exposed by Stockport County on Sunday when they signed the Newcastle United right-back, Marc Hottiger, for pounds 700,000 subject to agreement of personal terms. The 27-year-old Swiss international was at Goodison last night for discussions with the Everton manager, Joe Royle, who has been without Earl Barrett, who has a knee injury, for three months.

Bolton Wanderers hope to sign the 27-year-old Austrian striker, Ralph Hasenhuttl, in a pounds 750,000 move from Casino Salzburg this week - but the chances of Manchester United making a new signing receded. Their manager, Alex Ferguson, dismissed reports that he was about to sign the Croatian national team captain, Zvonimir Boban, from Milan as "speculation."

Alan Buckley received the poisoned chalice of a vote of confidence yesterday, when the West Bromwich Albion chairman, Tony Hale, said he believed Buckley to be one of the best managers in the country. Albion have lost 11 successive League games and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Second Division Crewe on Saturday.

Oldham's attempt to use the Bosman case to avoid a fee for Toddy Orlygsson failed yesterday when a League tribunal ordered them to to pay Stoke pounds 180,000 for the Icelandic midfield player. Orlygsson was out of contract at Stoke, but the tribunal ruled in favour of a fee because it was not a cross-border transfer. Stoke had demanded a fee of pounds 750,000.

Dunfermline's Scottish First Division match at Dumbarton last night was postponed after the death of the club captain, Norrie McCathie. The bodies of McCathie, 34, and 26-year-old Amanda Burns were found at the player's home in the Fife town on Monday night, apparently victims of gas inhalation.

Celtic are ready to sell the Albanian international, Rudi Vata, to Crystal Palace. The Glasgow club are willing to part with the defender for a bargain price - he was watched by the Palace coach, Ray Lewington, in a reserve game on Monday.

West Ham have accepted a pounds 1.2m bid from Sheffield United for Don Hutchison. The former Liverpool midfielder, who joined the Hammers for pounds 1.5m in 1994, will make a decision on the proposed move today.

Last night's football, page 23