Football: Vialli told to stay put

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The Independent Online
Gianluca Vialli and Patrick Kluivert had differing days at the office yesterday, with the Italian being reminded that he will have to rough it out in west London, while the Dutchman confirmed he would be swapping Amsterdam for Milan.

Vialli was reported to have had cosy chats with Southampton's Graeme Souness, but Chelsea's managing director, Colin Hutchinson, insisted the striker is not looking for a transfer. "Gianluca is obviously frustrated that he has been watching from the bench in recent matches," he said, "but he is under contract here until June 1999, has certainly not asked for a transfer, and is not for sale."

The 20-year-old Kluivert, who is leaving Ajax on a free transfer, rejected Arsenal and Everton to sign a four-year contract with Milan, along with an Ajax team-mate, the utility player Winston Bogarde.

George Graham has written to the Football Association after the Leeds player Lee Bowyer aggravated an ankle injury playing for the England Under- 21 side. The Elland Road manager believes Bowyer should have spent this week having treatment at his club. The FA insisted he played against Italy, when he was injured in the first minute. He is doubtful for tomorrow's FA Cup fifth-round home tie against Portsmouth.

"We are writing to the FA for their observations on what we see as a medical matter," Graham said. "I don't want to say too much but we do need clarification on the situation in case it arises in the future."

Ronnie Whelan's future as manager of Southend United will be decided today. A lengthy board meeting was held yesterday following the decision by the FA to charge Whelan with misconduct following an incident involving a linesman at Manchester City last Saturday.

Whelan is currently suspended by the First Division club and his assistant, Theo Foley, has already been dismissed.

The drop into non-League football remains a probability rather than a possibility for Brighton, after the Third Division club lost their appeal against a two-point deduction for pitch invasions. "All is not lost but it's a very disappointing day," said the chief executive, David Bellotti, whose team are three points adrift at the bottom of the Nationwide League.

Gerhard Aigner, the general secretary of Uefa, European football's governing body, said yesterday that his organisation was still backing the German bid for the 2006 World Cup. "We have not climbed down on this," Aigner insisted.

On the day after John Major launched England's rival bid, Aigner added that Uefa was sorry that politics were now involved. "I can say we are not happy that this has come into play, but it will be very difficult to take it out now," he said. "That is why we have to make a united decision."