Game under the microscope: Ian Ridley charts the progress of football's inquiries : FOOTBALL

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The Independent Online
THESE are hectic times for the English game's governing body. Last week the Football Association concluded the Eric Cantona affair - though the Frenchman still has a court appearance at Croydon on 23 March - by imposing a ban on him until 30 September and fining him £10,000. Now they have been handed the George Graham hot potato by the Premier League to add to their list of cases pending. Their chief executive, Graham Kelly, expects to be in a position to act upon the former Arsenal manager within a week, but that still leaves him with a heavy caseload.


The Premier League's baby, rather than the FA's. Rick Parry, their chief executive, insists that the 16-month inquiry will not end with the George Graham case and that some of the "30 or 40" transfers from overseas since the formation of the league are still being investigated. They are still hoping for a breakthrough on one contentious domestic transfer, Teddy Sheringham from Nottingham Forest to Tottenham. "We have a bag of money and 183 different stories about where it went," Parry said.


An interim report on the riot that forced the abandonment of the Ireland v England match was sent by the FA to Uefa last Monday. This week, Gardai officers who are pursuing extradition of offenders, come to London to meet officers of the National Football Intelligence Unit. The hooligan hotline set up by the FA (0800 515495) has so far received more than 1,000 calls.


There was a case to answer, said the FA, when allegations of bribery against the Southampton goalkeeper surfaced last November but that case is in abeyance while the police finish their inquiries. The FA say they are in regular touch with the police but the word is that any action is a long way off yet.


After his six-week rehabilitation in an addiction treatment centre the Arsenal striker continues to attend the centre one day a week and meetings of Gamblers' and Alcoholics' Anonymous four times a week. He is also drug- tested at least once a week and while he remains clean no further action is planned.


Although Ince was interviewed by the police after claims that he punched someone in the Selhurst Park crowd the night Cantona was sent off, the FA's attitude is that he has not been charged with any crime and since they have received no complaint they are not considering action.


The Wimbledon manager and his errant player are due to face charges of bringing the game into disrepute next week following their derogatory comments to the referee after their match at Newcastle on 25 January. Action over Jones biting a journalist's nose in a Dublin hotel is unlikely, however. The FA are content with Wimbledon's decision to suspend the player for three games but feel unwilling or unable to act further on a matter that is deemed unrelated to football. The same applies to Dennis Wise's conviction for common assault of a taxi driver. He is due to be sentenced on 13 March.

The FA are also now satisfied that any investigations into the business dealings of the England coach Terry Venables are behind them, the Serious Fraud Office having dropped interest. Venables himself, however, is claiming unfair dismissal against Tottenham Hotspur and sueing Panorama for libel.