Football: World Cup guidelines target Olympic abuses

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The Independent Online
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE members of Fifa, who will decide on the host nation for the 2006 World Cup, have been told to report any country which offers "excessive hospitality".

Football's world governing body has drawn up guidelines for the 24 members to be issued to all bidding countries, including England, in the hope of avoiding the sort of bribery scandal that has recently embroiled the Olympic movement. But apart from specifying that no souvenirs worth more than pounds 70 can be offered, there has been no significant crackdown.

One report had suggested that England's 2006 bid organisers would be prevented from making too many foreign trips, but in reality, the only requirement is for a campaign team undertaking an overseas visit which does not form part of a more general footballing purpose to inform Fifa in advance.

Four Premiership clubs have expressed their interest in taking part in next season's InterToto Cup, but only one place is on offer. Middlesbrough, Wimbledon, Leicester and Southampton want the chance to take an alternative route into Europe while there is still time for other teams to put themselves forward.

Portsmouth have won a reprieve in their endeavours to stop the First Division club's bankers calling in receivers. The Co-operative Bank, which holds the mortgage on Portsmouth's Fratton Park ground, had set Pompey a noon deadline yesterday to pay an outstanding debt of pounds 350,000.

However, Portsmouth now have until 9am on Monday to pay the outstanding money following a last-minute meeting between the club's directors and the bank. Portsmouth, who are facing a winding-up order from the Inland Revenue for pounds 405,000 in unpaid tax next Wednesday, applied at the start of the week to go into administration to help rescue the club from financial ruin.

Ruud Gullit has dismissed talk of a rift with his players. The Newcastle United manager played down the speculation after a week in which Alan Shearer was reported to have had a heated discussion with him over his treatment of Paul Dalglish. "There's no rift at all," he said. "It surprises the players and the staff that all the time little comments like that are coming out."

John Rudge, the sacked Port Vale manager, has decided against taking up the newly created post of director of football at Vale Park. He plans to take a break from football though he has been doing some coaching at Old Trafford.

Celtic's Scotland striker Darren Jackson is to join Chinese team Dalian Wanda for pounds 500,000.