Vogts gives Cup concession to English players
The Nigeria manager, Berti Vogts, has indicated that his English-based players might be able to participate in the third round of the FA Cup on the weekend of 5 and 6 January.
The squad are due to meet up from 4 January at a training camp in Malaga to prepare for the African Nations Cup, which begins on 20 January in Ghana. However, Vogts has warned he will invoke Fifa's 14-day rule if clubs refuse to release players on time.
He said: "Although I would love to have all my players in camp at least two days [prior] to the mandatory 14 days, I will give concession to those in England. But they should be in camp unfailingly in the 14 days mandatory period. By January 6 all players have to be there.
"If they are not in camp by that time then I will get Fifa directly on this issue."
At home, the head of the referees panel, Keith Hackett, has confirmed that Phil Dowd did not take advice from the fourth official before sending off Robbie Keane in a recent Premier League match.
Keane was shown a straight red card for his tackle on the Birmingham midfielder Fabrice Muamba during Tottenham's 3-2 defeat on 2 December.
Television pictures showed Dowd talking into his microphone before brandishing the red card, sparking suggestions he had been consulting with Uriah Rennie on the touchline. But Hackett said Dowd was just giving Rennie advance notice of the dismissal.
He said: "I think one of my referees was accused of being influenced by Uriah Rennie on the dismissal of a player. I can assure you quite categorically that that wasn't the case.
"I think the referee was perhaps trying to be a little clever, if I look at it in detail.
"Because he knows a player is going, he's worried about the reaction in the technical area so he says 'look, he's going, be prepared for any outcome in the technical area'."
Tottenham launched an immediate appeal against Keane' dismissal but it was rejected by the Football Association, who imposed a three-match ban.
In Germany, Bayern Munich punished their captain, Oliver Kahn, after he left the Christmas party early and criticised his team-mates, the coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, said yesterday.
The former Germany goalkeeper criticised fellow team members Luca Toni and Franck Ribry this week, saying that while playing a few good games for their former clubs might have been enough, they would have to do more now they were Bayern players.
On Tuesday, Bayern announced that Kahn had been fined 25,000 (18,000) and suspended for Saturday's league game at Hertha Berlin, their final fixture before the mid-season Bundesliga break.
"I had to set an example so everyone at Bayern knows how they're expected to behave," Hitzfeld said. "Players criticising their team-mates must stop. Otherwise we become a madhouse. Kahn must know he has to set an example to the younger players and at the Christmas party he did not behave well. The captain can't leave early."
In Italy, the Juventus winger Mauro Camoranesi has been ruled out for around a month after suffering a fresh thigh problem. The Italy international has had an injury-hit season but produced sparkling form in his rare appearances for club and country.
Juve, third in Serie A, visit Lazio on Saturday and host Siena on 23 December before the mid-season break.
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