Leicester tie moved from Belgrade

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The Independent Online

Leicester City were last night relieved by the decision of European football's governing body, Uefa, who ruled that the second leg of their first round Uefa Cup tie with Red Star Belgrade will take place at a neutral venue on 28 September.

Leicester City were last night relieved by the decision of European football's governing body, Uefa, who ruled that the second leg of their first round Uefa Cup tie with Red Star Belgrade will take place at a neutral venue on 28 September.

Uefa had originally decided that the second leg would take place in Belgrade on 21 September - three days before elections in Yugoslavia. But that was on condition that Red Star could guarantee to Uefa by yesterday the safety of the players during their spell in the country. That appears to have not been the case, with the tie now reverting back to its original date at a venue to be decided.

The Foreign Office have advised British nationals against all non-essential travel to Yugoslavia, where elections will be held during the week commencing 25 September.

The Football Association's executive director, David Davies, expressed his concern at Leicester being allowed to make the trip and it was believed that the FA would advise the Filbert Street club against travelling to Belgrade even if Uefa had decided otherwise.

Last season, Leeds were allowed to play a Uefa Cup tie against Partizan Belgrade in the Netherlands because of potential problems, and although the situation has eased since, it has not done so sufficiently for Europe's football authorities to allow a high-profile game to take place in Yugoslavia.

Leicester's central defender Gerry Taggart has signed a new three-year contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2003. The Northern Ireland international hinted over the weekend after the win against Southampton that he was close to finalising a new deal and yesterday it was agreed.

It is another fillip for the club's new manager, Peter Taylor, who has also persuaded Matt Elliott, Neil Lennon and Muzzy Izzet to sign long-term deals since replacing Martin O'Neill.

Taggart was City's player of the year last season, but had failed to agree new terms after opening talks with O'Neill in April. Now everything is to the satisfaction of the 29-year-old, whose outstanding form has earned him an international recall after a two-year absence.

West Ham yesterday told Chelsea to forget any hopes they might have had of signing Paulo Di Canio after the club had made a £4m bid for the Italian striker.

Paul Aldridge, the West Ham managing director, said: "There has been an inquiry, but we would like to strongly reiterate that he is not for sale."

Everton's attempt to complete the signing of the Israeli international Idan Tal has failed after the player was refused a work permit. The Department of Employment ruled that the Maccabi Petah Tikva midfielder did not meet the necessary criterion of playing in 75 per cent of his country's internationals.

Ipswich Town have agreed terms with NK Maribor for the transfer of the Slovenian international defender Amir Karic, 26, for an undisclosed fee.

The Portsmouth defender Jason Crowe has joined Brentford on a month's loan after being placed on the transfer list by the Fratton Park manager, Tony Pulis. The 21-year-old cost Pompey £650,000 from Arsenal 14 months ago.

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