Two-game ban for Batty and Le Saux

Football
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Football

MARK BURTON

Graeme Le Saux and David Batty have been banned for two European games for their punch-up on the pitch during Blackburn's Champions' League game in Moscow a week ago.

Uefa, football's governing body in Europe, had apparently decided to take no action because the Italian referee of the match against Spartak made no mention of the pair's sparring. However, the Fair Play report compiled by a Uefa official highlighted the fracas, so the ban was imposed "for grossly unsporting conduct."

"The news has come as a bit of a shock to the club," Blackburn's chairman, Robert Coar, said. "All the statements we had seen attributed to Uefa in the media said they were not going to take any further actions and that the club's internal disciplinary actions would stand." Blackburn have already heavily fined both players.

The Association, which had urged Uefa to act, was surprised but pleased with the about-turn. "We asked Uefa to consider taking action and they have now done so. We consider this to be the end of the matter," a spokesman said.

Paul Gascoigne, John Brown and Alan McLaren will make up their own minds whether to appear before a Scottish FA disciplinary panel today. The three Rangers players, along with the Aberdeen striker Billy Dodds, have been summoned following incidents during the game between Rangers and the Dons on 11 November. They have not yet been charged with anything.

The battle for control of Sheffield United appears to have been settled, with two businessmen, Mike McDonald and Martyn Burke, each buying half the holding of the former chairman, Reg Brealey. McDonald has become chairman with Burke vice-chairman. They have pledged pounds 1.5m for team rebuilding.

The Supporters Association will today unveil a system of legal back-up for fans in trouble. Their Legal Network for Fans aims to put the football supporter in touch with solicitors experienced in dealing with football issues.

Jack Charlton, the Republic of Ireland manager, has left a place open for Roy Keane in his squad to face the Netherlands in the European Championship qualifying play-off match at Anfield on 13 December.

The Manchester United midfield player had a hernia operation three weeks ago and missed Ireland's 3-0 defeat in Portugal. He played in only three of their 10 ties in Group Six. "If it can be proved that Keane has recovered from his injury, I would still like to have him in the squad," Charlton said.

Charlton named only 21 players, with the Manchester City striker Niall Quinn suspended after receiving his second yellow card of the qualifying tournament in Portugal.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD (European Championship qualifying play-off v Netherlands, Liverpool FC, 13 December): A Kelly (Sheffield Utd), Bonner (Celtic), Irwin (Manchester Utd), G Kelly (Leeds), Kenna (Blackburn), McGrath (Aston Villa), Babb (Liverpool), Phelan (Chelsea), Staunton (Aston Villa), Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Houghton (Crystal Palace), McAteer (Liverpool), Milligan (Norwich), Townsend (Aston Villa), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), D Kelly (Sunderland), Aldridge (Tranmere), Cascarino (Marseille), Kennedy (Liverpool), Morris (Middlesbrough), Kernaghan (Manchester City).

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