Arsenal and Lazio face Uefa inquiry

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The Independent Online

European Football's governing body, Uefa, yesterday opened an investigation into the scuffles and alleged racial abuse which marred the Champions' League game between Lazio and Arsenal on Tuesday.

European Football's governing body, Uefa, yesterday opened an investigation into the scuffles and alleged racial abuse which marred the Champions' League game between Lazio and Arsenal on Tuesday.

Lazio came under fire after Sinisa Mihajlovic was accused of racially taunting Patrick Vieira. Yesterday, Mihajlovic denied using the word "monkey" and said Vieira had called him a "gypsy" first. He also chided Vieira for talking to the press. "If you're a man, you don't go crying to your mother," he said. "And so we continue with this soap opera. And if anyone wants to twist what happened, to mention racism, I don't care."

With Lazio also having to contend with other unrelated controversies, the club's owner Sergio Cragnotti imposed a media black-out yesterday, saying Lazio would not be talking to the press before this weekend's match against Verona.

A prosecutor is also seeking indictments against Cragnotti and other officials after the Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron allegedly obtained Italian citizenship illegally.

The former Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear is back in football as a consultant with Oxford United. The 53-year-old will start on Monday with a brief to assess the club's Second Division position and map out a route forwards. Kinnear has been out of the game since he stood down as Wimbledon manager in June 1999 after suffering a mild heart attack.

High-level discussions with the European Commission this week have left the Fifa-backed Transfer Task Force confident of finding a legally acceptable alternative to the present transfer system. Fifa has until 31 October to make its proposals to the Competitions Commissioner Mario Monti, who believes the current method of players swapping clubs breaches freedom of movement under the Treaty of Rome.

A specially convened meeting of all 51 Uefa member associations in Geneva today will be briefed on the latest work of the Task Force, with its chairman Per Ravn Omdal due to publicly state how much work has still to be done.

However, recent meetings between the EC and the legal sub-committee of the Task Force have hardened the resolve to allow individual labour laws to take precedence in all transfers, with an arbitration panel being set up to rule over moves which cross national boundaries.

* Tayside police have confirmed they have charged Jim McLean, who resigned as chairman of Dundee United last weekend, with an alleged assault on the BBC Scotland reporter John Barnes following a 4-0 defeat to Hearts.

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