Dyer doubtful for England tour

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Kieron Dyer looks certain to miss the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury during Wednesday's draw against Middlesbrough.

Kieron Dyer looks certain to miss the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury during Wednesday's draw against Middlesbrough.

Dyer, who hurt his hamstring two weeks ago in Newcastle United's Uefa Cup defeat against Sporting Lisbon, lasted half an hour of the goalless draw at St James' Park.

"Dyer's hamstring has gone completely," the Newcastle manager Graeme Souness said yesterday. "He will have a scan on it, but I think he knows himself that it has gone from the way he pulled up.

"Injuries like this one usually take six weeks - so I think it's fair to say that, at this stage of the season, he won't figure again before the end of the season."

The injury is likely to keep Dyer out of England's tour to the United States next month. England are due to play the US on 28 May in Chicago, then face Colombia in New Jersey on 31 May. Asked after the game on Wednesday about the threat to Dyer's participation in the England tour, Souness was dismissive. "That very important, critical trip that the England team are going to America on? Is that the one you are referring to?" he asked. "You know what the rules are, but I would prefer he did not - I would prefer none of them went given the amount of games we have got - but it is out of our hands."

Dyer's absence comes after he was banned for three games at the start of April after being sent off for brawling with his team mate Lee Bowyer in their side's 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa. Newcastle are 14th in the Premiership with four matches left.

Elsewhere, Stoke's major shareholders are selling their stake in the Championship club. The Iceland-based Stoke Holding consortium have held a controlling 60 per cent in the Potters since November 1999, but have decided to sever their ties with the club.

A statement from the club read: "Stoke chairman Gunnar Gislason has confirmed that Stoke Holding SA, the major shareholder in Stoke City Football Club, have today informed the club that they are putting their financial interest in the club up for sale."

The consortium, however, have stated they will continue to support the club until a sale has been completed, which may not take place until next season.

In Italy, Juventus have been told by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne that they do not have to hand back the Serie A titles they won in the mid-1990s, even though the club's doctor was found guilty of doping offences.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) had asked the CAS for its advice following the outcome of a trial in Turin last November in which Riccardo Agricola was found guilty of administering drugs to players between 1994 and 1998. That verdict raised fears that the club would have to surrender the three Scudettos won during that period, as well as the 1996 Champions' League.

"The use of pharmaceutical substances that are not expressly banned by sporting law and that are not similar to illegal substances cannot be punished by disciplinary action," CAS said in a statement.

CAS's judgment is, however, not the end of the matter. CONI sought advice from CAS only on one part of the Turin court's judgment, that relating to drugs "not expressly banned by the rules". Agricola was also found guilty of administering the banned blood-booster EPO. That verdict is still under appeal.

In Germany, The German Federation said it will not fine Robert Hoyzer, the referee at the centre of the country's match-fixing scandal, though he could still face a lifetime ban. Following the scandal, players, coaches, referees and officials will be banned from gambling on matches under a new code of conduct agreed by the Federation yesterday.

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