Taylor near to dialogue for peace

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The Independent Online
Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has revealed that he is close to bringing Peter Schmeichel and Ian Wright to the peace table.

Taylor also has hopes that the Manchester United goalkeeper and the Arsenal striker will avoid punishment from both the courts and the Football Association if they are seen to declare a public truce to the feud that has developed between them. "We have been in close contact with both clubs, the players and the FA over the matter and I am hoping a meeting can be set up," Taylor said.

"The racist overtones of the dispute are of a particular concern to the PFA and we want the matter to be dealt with as soon as possible. I am hoping some kind of coming together can be arranged in the next few days.

"There is, of course, the shadow of possible action from both the Crown Prosecution Service and the FA hanging over Schmeichel and Wright, but we see this dispute as a special case and would also hope that a swift reconciliation would ensure that both players escape any punishment."

The North West Crown Prosecution Service is already considering whether to press ahead with legal proceedings, following complaints that the Danish international had aimed a racist insult at Wright when United played Arsenal at Old Trafford in November.

The row boiled over once again last Wednesday when Wright made a two- footed challenge on Schmeichel during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Highbury. A police officer was forced to step in to pull the two players apart at the final whistle.

Initial reports claimed Wright had put the second confrontation down to another racist slur and, although he now insists he did not make any such imputation, the fact Schmeichel is taking legal advice suggests he is ready to clear his name in court.

Taylor dismissed such a suggestion when he added: "We were made aware by United that Peter was taking legal advice from the club solicitor, Maurice Watkins. But the message I have got from Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger is that they would like both players to get together to sort out the dispute themselves.

"The fact that the Crown Prosecution Service are considering whether to take action makes things difficult. But I would hope that their decision on whether to instigate proceedings, and the FA's, would be influenced favourably by a public reconciliation."

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