Young England sidelined by Kosovo threat

Peter Lansley
Saturday 17 September 2011 14:31

Fears of an invasion of Kosovans have led to the postponement of England's European Under-21 Championship play-off in Luxembourg on Sunday.

Fears of an invasion of Kosovans have led to the postponement of England's European Under-21 Championship play-off in Luxembourg on Sunday.

The Luxembourg government bowed to pressure from England's opponents, Yugoslavia, who decided that security arrangements in the Josy Barthel Stadium were inadequate. The English FA spent yesterday trying to salvage the game before admitting defeat.

No alternative venue or date has yet been decided upon. The players disbanded last night and Richard Wright should be available for Ipswich for their game against Tranmere tonight.

The tie had already been reduced to a one-off game to be played on neutral territory because of the instability in Yugoslavia, and Joel Wolff, the general secretary of the Luxembourg FA, said yesterday: "It is very late in the day to cancel the game and very disappointing. I think it is silly. We knew early on what we had to do to stage this game. Only when we had additional information from the embassy, of what they were told by the police, did we realise extra security would be needed. They feared there could be people from Kosovo coming over and using this game as an opportunity for political activity."

Fifa, world football's governing body, has warned Leeds not to play Harry Kewell in next week's Premiership game with Bradford following a complaint from Soccer Australia after the winger pulled out of the forthcoming friendlies with Brazil due to calf and ankle injuries.

Leeds had said Kewell would not be available, but eventually agreed that he could play in the first of the two games. However, the 21-year-old did not travel on Sunday because of his injuries.

The Brazil coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, threatened yesterday to pull Ronaldo out of the two games in a reaction to suggestions that Fifa might bar him from the second game next Wednesday at the request of his club, Internazionale.

The Aston Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, has denied rumours that he went behind the back of his manager, John Gregory, to make a £3m bid for two Peterborough players, Matthew Etherington and Simon Davies.

Matthew Le Tissier says he may consider a loan deal. The Southampton playmaker has not been a first-team regular this season following an Achilles problem and, after scoring in a reserve match against St Albans, he said: "It is not inspiring to play in front of a handful of people at St Albans, so maybe I need to go out on loan to get a few matches under my belt."

The Arsenal striker Christopher Wreh wants to leave Highbury. Wreh, 24, who has found his first-team chances limited with the Gunners, is on a three-month loan spell at Birmingham. "There is no point wasting my time at Arsenal," he said.

The former Italian international striker Francesco Baiano has signed for the Italian Serie B club Ternana on a free transfer from Derby County.

Michael Thomas has complained to Fifa that his current club, Benfica, are delaying paying his wages. Fifa has confirmed it is investigating.

Everton are set to sign the United States striker Joe-Max Moore. Their manager, Walter Smith, hopes to tie up the deal today. The New England Revolution forward has an EU passport through his dual nationality.

Alan Ball is trying to talk centre-half Darren Moore into joining Portsmouth in a £500,000 deal. The Pompey manager had a second meeting with the Bradford City defender yesterday and hopes to beat Sheffield United and Barnsley to his signature.

The Middlesbrough striker Andy Campbell is set to sign a £1m deal with Huddersfield, who are paying about £600,000 up front with the rest based on appearances and achievement.

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