League hits Swansea with transfer embargo

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Swansea City have been plunged further into crisis after the Football League imposed a transfer embargo on the club with immediate effect.

The ban stops the Swansea manager Colin Addison from adding to his squad after the club fell behind with pension payments owed to the players.

Swansea's communications manager Peter Owen said: "The Football League has decided to act on this by issuing a transfer embargo with immediate effect and it will not be lifted until the payments are made."

The Vetch Field club were unable to pay their player's wages over Christmas after an appeal to the Professional Footballers' Association for a loan came too late and Owen admitted this latest news was yet another massive blow.

He said: "The circumstances are very difficult for everyone at the club at the moment and this is just going to make things even harder.

"Colin Addison has done a fantastic job in difficult conditions. He said when he came here it would be tough, but I don't think even he expected things to be this hard."

Nigel Clough is the favourite to be named as the new Chesterfield manager – at the second attempt. Clough has impressed the Second Division club with his work at the UniBond side Burton Albion and could be asked to take over from Nicky Law. Chesterfield tried for Clough before Law joined them.

West Ham United are trying to sign the Sparta Prague defender Vladimir Labant on loan, their manager Glenn Roeder revealed yesterday.

The club hope the versatile 27-year-old Slovakian international, who can also play in midfield, will give them more squad depth. Labant has been a regular at full-back this season for Sparta, who are contesting the second group phase of the Champions' League.

West Ham already have one ex-Sparta Prague defender in their team, the Czech international Tomas Repka.

The Watford manager Gianluca Vialli is in talks to sign Middlesbrough's Australian midfielder Paul Okon.

Vialli hopes to sign Okon in the next few days as he looks to bolster a side that is struggling to keep up with the promotion-chasing pack. Okon has been in and out of Steve McClaren's first-team squad and could be allowed to leave to make way for new arrivals. Watford want to pick up Okon for nothing or a nominal fee and the final details are being hammered out between the clubs.

The Burnley manager Stan Ternent faces a struggle to sign the striker Shefki Kuqi and the Israeli centre-half Ariel Banado. Ternent was hoping to sign Stockport County's Finnish target man Kuqi by the weekend, but now Sheffield Wednesday have joined the race. Ternent is also waiting on a reply from Maccabi Haifa's Banado, who was invited for a trial last week with a view to a signing.