United face allegation of youth player poaching

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The Independent Online
Clubs found guilty of poaching young footballers face the prospect of losing League points or paying heavy fines in a crackdown by the Premiership. New rules are being drawn up after allegations that Manchester United have enticed three teenagers from other clubs, although there is no suggestion that they made cash inducements to tempt them away.

Arsenal have made an official complaint to the Premier League after Matthew Wicks, 16, agreed to a move to Old Trafford. The Gunners are furious that, having spent six years working with the player, he should leave them for one of their fiercest rivals. Leeds are also unhappy after losing a striker, Andrew Wright.

The League Managers' Association is seeking urgent talks with the Football Association in a quest to increase protection for its members. The LMA is angry at the fate of the Sheffield United fan, Robert Hollister, who spat at the Wolves manager, Graham Taylor, last month.

Hollister was fined £50 - dismissed as "a joke" by the LMA, which said it was no deterrent to would-be hooligans. "We feel the fine is derogatory," Jim Smith, the LMA chief executive, said. "Surely the punishment should have been more severe."

The GM Vauxhall Conference club, Halifax Town, due to fold at the end of the season with debts of £170,000, have been given a reprieve by their supporters. They have raised the £30,000 which the taxman had demanded as a down-payment on a debt of £85,000 - the rest will be paid in instalments over next season.

The former Soviet Union and Ipswich Town defender Sergei Baltacha has resigned as manager of the Inverness club, Caledonian Thistle. He has asked to be released for "family reasons" but will stay in charge until the end of the season.

Tommy Taylor, the former West Ham defender, has been confirmed as the manager of Cambridge United, despite the club's relegation to the Endsleigh League Third Division. Taylor has been caretaker-manager for five matches. Likewise, Southend United have promoted their caretaker, Steve Thompson, to manager.

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