Football: Venables under fire from Bates

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THE CHELSEA chairman, Ken Bates, yesterday told Terry Venables to "mind his own business" after the Crystal Palace manager and former England coach criticised the Stamford Bridge club's structure which meant "young domestic players are finding it hard to break through."

Bates angrily insisted that this was a case of the pot calling the kettle black. "This is the man [Venables] who, when he was at Portsmouth, half his team were Australians. And now that he is at Crystal Palace, he is reportedly signing Chinese players, Australian players and Argentinian players.

"Without being unkind, you'd have thought with the problems he has got at Crystal Palace, he would concentrate on his own club, rather than sticking his nose into other people's business," Bates said.

The Danish Blackburn striker, Per Pedersen, has moved to Strasbourg on a three-year contract, reportedly in the hope he will play more first- team football and increase his chances of an international re-call.

Leeds United's Republic of Ireland international, Gary Kelly, faces the threat of surgery and might miss the opening game of the season, at Middlesbrough, next week. The 24-year-old wing-back believes he may be suffering from shin splints. He has already undergone a scan, which proved inconclusive, and now requires further tests which will confirm whether he needs an operation.