Gibson clears way to appoint Southgate as Boro manager

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The Independent Football

The Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson could be ready to seek the help of his Premiership counterparts as he considers making Gareth Southgate his new manager.

In a move similar to that made by Newcastle's chairman, Freddy Shepherd, Gibson is understood to be preparing to canvass his fellow chairmen to seek special dispensation for the 35-year-old defender to be given the job, despite his lack of relevant coaching qualifications.

Shepherd managed to win permission to appoint Glenn Roeder as Graeme Souness's successor last month after the Premiership chairmen handed him the two-thirds majority required to waive their rules.

However, the process was hugely controversial, with the League Managers' Association arguing vehemently against the decision.

Southgate's appointment would be even more controversial because the former England international has yet to complete his B licence - he will do so this summer - let alone the Uefa pro licence required to manage in the top flight.

Boro would not comment yesterday, although the Southgate plan is believed to be one of several being contemplated by Gibson as he attempts to build on Steve McClaren's legacy. The Teessiders' chairman is adamant that the likes of Southgate, Colin Cooper and Ugo Ehiogu should remain at the club beyond the end of their playing days as part of a coaching dynasty, along with the assistant manager Steve Round and coach Steve Harrison.

That was the logic behind Gibson's approach to Terry Venables, who had already enjoyed a spell at the Riverside and is understood to have been one of the reasons behind his failure to land the former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill.

However, Gibson knows the Southgate option could be problematical. Round has the pro licence but Harrison does not, and a coaching team comprising the pair plus Southgate, who would then be groomed as a future manager, could be a compromise.

Elsewhere, the Football Association is to contact Arsenal after receiving a letter from the world governing body Fifa requesting that the FA investigate the relationship between the European Cup finalists and the Belgian club, Beveren.

A Fifa spokesman said a letter had been sent instructing the FA to examine ties between the clubs in response to allegations that Arsenal had made irregular payments to the Belgian club.

The FA has handed the matter over to its compliance unit, which will be seeking clarification from Arsenal on the claims made by BBC's Newsnight programme last Thursday.

Arsenal refute the allegations.