Wolves ban fan involved in riot

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The Independent Online
BY RUPERT METCALF

Wolverhampton Wanderers have set a swift example to other English clubs by imposing a two-season ban on a season-ticket holder involved in the riot at last week's abandoned England international in Dublin.

Stephen Sloan, 31, was photographed grappling with a steward at Lansdowne Road and was subsequently sentenced to two months in jail for provoking a breach of the peace, but was released on bail pending an appeal. After a meeting with Jonathan Hayward, the Wolves chairman, and the club secretary, Tom Finn, yesterday, he was told he was not welcome at the club until the end of the 1996/97 season.

"We are delighted with the club taking a hard line with people who disgrace the country and the game," Clare Tomlinson, a spokeswoman for the Football Association, said. The Football League also welcomed the ban.

"It has always been the club's intention to eradicate crowd misbehaviour at Molineux," Finn said. "The measure we have taken in banning Mr Sloan reflects our determination to take a lead and emphasise that such behaviour cannot be condoned." If Sloan's appeal in Dublin is successful, Wolves will reconsider their position.

The delegation from the sport's European governing body, Uefa, who are touring grounds booked to stage matches at next year's European Championship, delivered a glowing report on Old Trafford yesterday. Scotland's Ernie Walker, the chairman of Uefa's stadia committee, said: "Old Trafford will be perfect for the championship. I know the stadium very well and my visit today only confirms that this is the finest stadium in the country. That includes Wembley, which may be bigger, but isn't better. Old Trafford is just what we are looking for."

As well as Manchester United's ground, the Uefa party also visited Elland Road, Leeds, where they heard assurances that ground improvements promised in 1993 are on schedule. "Elland Road ranks among the best," Walker said.

Manchester United's home FA Cup sixth-round tie against Queen's Park Rangers will now be played at 1pm on Sunday 12 March. The game had been selected for live transmission by Sky Sports the following evening, but large numbers of complaints received from fans by the FA forced a rethink. There will now be two televised ties on the Sunday, with Everton against Newcastle live on BBC1 at 3pm.

Peterborough United have parted company with their 33-year-old goalkeeper, John Keeley, who was involved in angry exchanges with his own supporters during Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Bradford City - only his third game for Posh since signing from Stockport. The Second Division strugglers have borrowed Tony Feuer from West Ham to replace Keeley.

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