Juninho cleared for his debut

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The Independent Online


Juninho will, after all, make his debut for Middlesbrough against Leeds United at a sold-out Riverside stadium tomorrow. Yesterday the Association received international clearance from the Brazilian football confederation, clearing the way for the completion of the 22-year-old's pounds 4.75m transfer from Sao Paulo.

"It is great news," Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough player-manager, said. "It takes away all the publicity and the hype and leaves the lad free to get on with playing football." The international midfielder took part in a full-scale practice match yesterday. "He showed up well," Robson added. "I know it is some time since he played a match but he has a lot of natural fitness."

The former Chelsea striker, Robert Fleck, has been fined pounds 1,000 and warned about his future conduct after being found guilty of misconduct by the Association.

Fleck, 30, was punished following an incident during Norwich's First Division game with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on 9 September, when he abused an official after being substituted.

Portsmouth have failed in their attempt to have a two-match ban imposed on their defender, Guy Butters, overturned on appeal. The former Tottenham defender was sent off for two bookable offences at West Bromwich on 21 October. After studying a video of the incident which led to the second yellow card - a challenge on Albion's Bob Taylor - the FA has upheld the red card decision by the referee, Uriah Rennie.

Paul Sturrock, the St Johnstone manager, will watch his side in action at Dumbarton tomorrow - three weeks after collapsing at the ground of his former club, Dundee United. Sturrock, 39, has been given the all-clear by doctors after suffering severe chest pains during a Scottish League match at Tannadice Park on 14 October. However, he will merely be in the stand at Boghead Park, with his assistant, John Blackley, still in temporary charge.

The Dutch Association has suspended a referee who allegedly bet on matches in the Netherlands at which he officiated. Dick Jol, who took charge of the abandoned friendly between the Republic of Ireland and England in February, allegedly placed bets at a grocery store in The Hague. Jol, 39, has described the allegations as "ridiculous."