Newcastle announce ticket freeze

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The Independent Online

Newcastle United have attempted to appease their disgruntled supporters by freezing season-ticket prices for fans who have been asked to move following a redevelopment of St James' Park.

Newcastle United have attempted to appease their disgruntled supporters by freezing season-ticket prices for fans who have been asked to move following a redevelopment of St James' Park.

Work to expand the stadium's capacity to 51,000 and provide new corporate facilities means that 4,000 season-ticket holders have been asked to leave their seats in the Milburn and Sir John Hall stands or pay up to £500 extra. The plan has been greeted angrily by those affected and protests are expected at tonight's Premiership match against Derby County.

But the club yesterday announced plans to peg the prices for season-ticket holders who move to a different seat within their existing stand, and some could even end up paying less.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said on Saturday that all international teams will play to a unified calendar after the European Championships in Belgium and the Netherlands next year. The head of the world governing body has been pressing hard for all Continental associations to align themselves with Europe and hold matches for national teams on the same dates.

"We've decided to unify the calendar after Euro 2000," he said. "That will mean the qualifying matches for the 2002 World Cup being played on the same dates."

John Gregory, the Aston Villa manager, says he will not stop criticising referees and is considering putting £50,000 into a special bank account from which the Football Association can directly deduct any fines handed out to him.

Gregory is faced with a fine after his remarks to the fourth official in the recent Premiership match at Leicester. He has already been fined this season after an altercation with another fourth official on the opening day of the season.

"The amount of cards being produced is ruining our game," Gregory said. "It can't be allowed to carry on which is why I continue to speak my mind. Perhaps I should put £50,000 in the bank, give the FA my credit details and then they can direct-debit me over the course of the season."

Nicky Banger, the midfielder who has been with Second Division Oxford United on a non-contract basis this season, has joined the Scottish Premier League club, Dundee.

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