Wanderers must tread carefully in long run

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wycombe must avoid a potential upset of their own if they are to repeat last season's FA Cup exploits after they were drawn to visit the Conference side Hayes in the first-round proper yesterday.

Lawrie Sanchez led his unfancied side to the semi-finals last year, Wanderers causing a sensation when knocking out the Premiership's Leicester City in an historic quarter-final tie at Filbert Street. Another notable cup specialist, Tranmere Rovers, will be wary of Brigg Town when they arrive at Prenton Park; Brigg upset the Conference high-flyers Boston in yesterday's fourth qualifying round.

The Ryman League Premier Division side Canvey Island's reward for knocking out Stafford Rangers is a trip to Wigan, while Scunthorpe await a potential derby with Doncaster if the latter can overcome the Unibond League outfit Emley, who are no strangers to fairytale cup runs either.

In-form Luton will journey to Southend in an all-Third Division tie, and the legendary cup giantkillers Hereford entertain the Second Division strugglers Wrexham. Peter Taylor's new charges at Brighton will host Shrewsbury, while Queen's Park Rangers travel to Swansea and Huddersfield will be out to avoid embarrassment at home to the Ryman League Premier Division side Gravesend & Northfleet.

Plymouth, making waves in the Third Division this season, must swap the south coast for that of the north-east and a tricky tie at Whitby, while the Second Division promotion favourites Bristol City entertain Leyton Orient.

The European Commission has asked the Premier League for information on last year's sale of television rights to England's top-flight football matches.

In response to newspaper reports, the EC spokesman Luc Veron said yesterday: "We have asked for some information," but gave no further details about the EC's concerns. The EC is understood to be worried that the current system, which gives the Premier League control over the sale of the rights, could constrain competition among broadcasters and reduce consumer choice.

In June last year, the Premier League secured a deal worth £1.65bn from the sale of broadcast rights to its games, including £1.1bn from BSkyB for live rights. The EC could demand changes in the marketing method for television rights when the next contract is awarded in 2004-5.

In July this year, the EC also warned Uefa, football's European governing body, that the way it sells the broadcast rights to the Champions' League may be illegal and called on it to open them up to more television stations.

The Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich, were forced to play their match against Cologne yesterday in sleeveless white training shirts without squad numbers and player's names on the back after their usual red away kit was deemed too similar to their hosts. However, the European champions were able to forget about the embarrassment factor and still cruised to a 2-0 victory following two Claudio Pizarro goals.

Italian clubs are considering a number of measures for next season including a salary cap after the Italian football federation's annual report announced combined losses from all the clubs in the top two divisions of $666m (£470m). "Short-term prospects are increasingly alarming," said a document signed by officials from the leading clubs, and a cap on players' wages and smaller squads were two key suggestions to keep the situation in hand.

Comments