Wright banned for four games

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Disciplinary problems affecting the Premiership's leading players continued to occupy the game's authorities yesterday when Ian Wright was banned for four games and fined £1,000 for reaching 41 disciplinary points. The Arsenal striker has been booked 12 times in 28 games and served two previous suspensions. He will miss the games against Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace.

George Graham, the Arsenal manager, pointed out that only two of the cautions had been for dissent, "an aspect of his game on which Ian has worked hard. We still feel a lot of his problems and other players' problems with the number of bookings have beencaused by the new directives for referees."

The fine imposed is a record for breaching the 41-point mark although Wright will be relieved that a change in policy means he is free to be selected by the England coach, Terry Venables, for the friendly on 15 February in the Republic of Ireland.

Before, players serving suspensions could not be picked by England in non-competitive fixtures. "The change has come because, with so few international warm-up matches before the European Championships, we believe we were penalising ourselves," Graham Kelly, the Football Association's chief executive, said.

At the same disciplinary commission, Fulham's Terry Hurlock, no stranger to spells on the sidelines, received an additional two-game ban and £350 fine for accumulating 51 points. He is currently half-way through a four-match absence.

Arsenal were denied permission to involve Paul Merson in a friendly fixture at Peterborough last night. However, he could make his comeback in tomorrow's Super Cup first leg against Milan at Highbury. When Merson left the rehabilitation centre where he has been undergoing treatment for gambling, drink and drug addictions, the FA said it would consider his return in "early February".

Norwich have extended Simon Tracey's loan from Sheffield United for another month. The goalkeeper is keen to put behind him a disappointing week in which he gifted Coventry a Premiership goal and then, in Saturday's FA Cup-tie, between the sides, he was carried off with a back injury.

Bristol City have agreed to pay the Norwegian club Stromsgodset £105,000 for the full-back, Vegard Hansen.

Comments