World Cup ticket problems still unsolved

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The Independent Football

Computer problems are still holding up online ticket sales for the 2002 World Cup, the governing body of world football, Fifa, said yesterday.

Computer problems are still holding up online ticket sales for the 2002 World Cup, the governing body of world football, Fifa, said yesterday.

"Technical problems are still preventing the sale of tickets for venue-specific tickets for Korean and Japanese residents," Fifa said.

South Korean organisers attempted to be more optimistic. In both countries, applications on paper started to be accepted last Thursday.

"The problem is almost solved. We hope to begin taking Internet orders this week, possibly Thursday," said Lee Ji-yon, a spokeswoman for South Korea's World Cup Organising Committee.

Despite the glitch, South Korean organisers said they have received orders on paper for 91,848 tickets. In Japan, 34,250 application forms had been received as of Monday for an unspecified number of tickets.

First Division leaders Fulham have been given the go-ahead for a new £70m 30,000 all-seater stadium at Craven Cottage.

However, the recommendation for planning approval by planning officers at Hammersmith and Fulham Council has still to get the backing of Councillors at a meeting next Tuesday and many local residents are opposed to the development.

Even if the club does get planning permission, the Government could still order a public inquiry because of the number of residents against the plan or because of the size of the scheme.

If Fulham's plans clear the remaining hurdles, they will still play at Craven Cottage next season even if - as seems likely - they gain promotion to the Premiership, becoming the only top-flight ground with terracing. The club would then spend the following season groundsharing with another club before returning to a new state-of-the-art stadium in time for the 2003-4 season.

Ugo Ehiogu has been handed a four-match ban after being sent off in Middlesbrough's FA Cup fourth-round replay at Wimbledon.

Ehiogu faced a three-match ban for violent conduct after punching Wimbledon's Mark Williams but the Football Association has imposed an extra punishment because it is the player's second red card of the season.

Ehiogu, signed for £8m from Aston Villa, misses the matches against Charlton, Newcastle, Chelsea and Sunderland.

Gareth Southgate has ruled himself out of England's friendly against Spain at Villa Park next week due to injury. "I have got to make sure I do not come back too soon and put myself out for a few more weeks. It's disappointing for me to miss the international with Spain. But there's nothing I can do about it."

Southgate played in England's last international against Italy in Turin when the team was chosen by then caretaker coach Peter Taylor.

Peter Schmeichel has announced his retirement from international football after more than a century of appearances for his country.

Schmeichel, who captained United to their 1999 European Cup Final win over Bayern Munich, also played in Denmark's stunning European Championship triumph in 1992.

Schmeichel will play his farewell game for the Red and Whites when Denmark play host to Slovenia in a friendly in April.

Schmeichel, 37, has played 128 times for Denmark and is the ninth-most capped international player in the world.

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