Shearer has operation

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The Independent Online
Alan Shearer's third groin operation in 10 months has been hailed as a success. The England captain had the operation in London yesterday and left hospital to return to the North-east.

Newcastle's press spokesman, Graham Courtney, said: "Alan is out of hospital and is heading home to rest up. There were no complications with the operation. It's gone well."

Newcastle are reluctant to speculate about how long it will be before Shearer returns to action but must be hoping he recovers as quickly as he did after his previous two operations. Shearer was ready in time for Euro 96 after having his first operation at the end of April. The second operation came in the wake of Newcastle's 5-0 win against Manchester United in October - and he was back just over a month later for the 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

Courtney added: "After the last operation, Alan was walking OK within a couple of days and then started doing exercises. It will be a case of him building his strength up bit by bit."

The basic rules of football are set to be redrafted for the first time in almost 60 years at the International Football Association Board's annual meeting in Belfast on Saturday.

If proposed modifications are accepted, throw-ins back to the goalkeeper will be outlawed and keepers will be free to move along their line when facing penalties.

Fifa, the sport's world governing body, said yesterday that the board will be reviewing the revised text of the "Laws of the Game" - the 17 basic rules of football. The rules were last rewritten in 1938 by Sir Stanley Rous and have become cumbersome with additions and amendments over the years.

The IFAB and Fifa hope to introduce some measures to speed up the game at the same time as the rules are re-worded. Under proposed changes, a "five-second rule" will be introduced to prevent goalkeepers from wasting time by holding on to the ball, goals will be possible direct from kick- offs or goal-kicks, and the ball will be in play as soon as it moves and will no longer need to travel its own circumference.