Gregory set for legal fight after Derby suspension

By Alan Nixon
Saturday 22 March 2003 01:00

John Gregory faces a legal battle with Derby County after being suspended from his managerial duties yesterday.

A letter from the club arrived at his solicitor's office informing him that he was being relieved of his job pending investigations into his affairs. The Football Association has been looking into allegations surrounding his transfer dealings at Aston Villa, as well as at Derby.

Gregory denies any wrong-doing in either case and is furious about the way the club have handled the campaign against him. Derby have been considering firing Gregory for poor results, but a clause in his contract means that would be an expensive exercise as he is due over £1m if he is sacked.

Gregory will be replaced on the touchline at Sheffield United today as his First Division strugglers try to end their dismal run. A former coach, Billy McEwan, may be approached to come in, while Fabrizio Ravanelli could even be put in temporary charge.

European football's governing body, Uefa, is to ask Patrick Vieira to supply evidence of racism during Arsenal's defeat to Valencia on Wednesday. Vieira claimed that Uefa were "hypocrites" because they do not back up their public stand against racism with actions.

Uefa has cleared Internazionale's Christian Vieri of making racist comments towards Newcastle's Lomana LuaLua in a Champions' League game on 11 March.

Liverpool have won the race to sign the Fulham right-back Steve Finnan, although the £4m deal will not be confirmed until the end of the season.

Steve Howey has tried to make his peace with Kevin Keegan after the Manchester City manager advised the defender to find another club. Howey hopes to meet with Keegan on Monday.

Blackburn's Hakan Sukur is back in Turkey's squad after seven months out with injury and could face England in their Euro 2004 qualifier in Sunderland on 2 April.

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