Police let FA settle Highbury fracas

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The Independent Online


Police revealed yesterday that they will leave any punishment for the touchline fracas that took place between Bruce Rioch and Terry McDermott on Wednesday night to the Association.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police interviewed the referee, Gerald Ashby, immediately after Arsenal's 2-0 Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final victory at Highbury but were assured that no punches made contact when Rioch, the Arsenal manager, and McDermott, the Newcastle assistant, squared up to each other after David Ginola's sending-off.

The FA have ordered an inquiry into the incident which could lead to both men facing a charge of bringing the game into disrepute. "Clearly we have a responsibility to look into events at Highbury," a spokes-man said.

The president of Internazionale, Massimo Moratti, has said that Alan Shearer could become a transfer target. Inter, managed by the Englishman Roy Hodgson, want Real Madrid's Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano but Shearer is another option.

Describing the England player as "an interesting alternative", Moratti added: "We're still in a completely exploratory phase on all fronts."

Shearer, who has been repeatedly linked with a big-money move abroad since recovering from the cruciate knee ligament injury which kept him out for most of 1993, reponded: "I am flattered that a major club like Inter should be interested in me, but I have recently signed a three-year extension to my contract."

Newcastle have failed in their attempt to sign Bayern Munich striker Jean-Pierre Papin on loan. Kevin Keegan was hoping to borrow the 32-year- old French international until the end of the season but the German club have turned him down. However, Papin will be available at the end of the season for nothing. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It would be great to go to Newcastle," Papin said.

The Scotland midfield player Eoin Jess, 25, has been transfer-listed by Aberdeen after rejecting a new contract offer, a move likely to interest Newcastle, Blackburn, Everton and Bolton.

Transfers that did go through yesterday were Don Hutchison's from West Ham to Sheffield United for a club record fee of pounds 1.2m and Nottingham Forest's purchase of Hull's Northern Ireland goalkeeper Alan Fettis. The fee is pounds 250,000 although that could rise to pounds 400,000.

Everton have followed Millwall in looking to Russia for new players. The Goodison club will bring the Dynamo Moscow midfielder Igor Dobrovolski to Merseyside next week. The experienced international will join initially on trial with a view to an extended loan period. He is a friend of Andrei Kanchelskis and his transfer market value is around pounds 400,000.

Leeds United, winners of the League Cup in 1968, have been made favourites to win the competition this season after drawing First Division opponents in the two-legged Coca-Cola semi-finals next month.

They will play the winners of the replay between Birmingham City and Norwich, while the other semi-final is an all-Premiership affair between Arsenal and Aston Villa.

COCA COLA CUP Semi-final draw: Arsenal v Aston Villa; Norwich or Birmingham v Leeds. (First legs to be played 11 and 14 February, second legs 21 and 25 February).

n The Brazillian striker Edmundo has been charged with manslaughter after a car crash in Rio in which three people died.