Newslines: Di Canio faces another ban


West Ham were yesterday charged with harassing referee Rob Styles as Paolo di Canio became one of four of the team's players to be accused of "protesting aggressively" against the sending-off of Igor Stimac last week.

Under the English FA's new disciplinary guidelines, West Ham face a fine of up to £250,000 sterling if found guilty, while striker di Canio may be banned for three games.

The other three players charged with improper conduct following the incident during last week's game against Leicester were England international Rio Ferdinand, striker Davor Suker and teenage midfielder Michael Carrick. But it is di Canio whose FA charge will come under the greatest public scrutiny, given his infamous push on referee Paul Alcock at Hillsborough in September 1998 for which he was banned for eight games.

Rangers have confirmed that Ronald de Boer's move to Ibrox is "99 per cent" complete while John Hartson revealed that he is eager to complete a move from Wimbledon.

De Boer completed his medical yesterday before flying off to meet up with the Dutch national squad, ahead of Saturday's World Cup qualifier with the Republic of Ireland. Hartson, who had trained with Wales in Cardiff in the morning, arrived in Glasgow yesterday evening.

Didier Deschamps, who quits the international game after Saturday's match against England, has blamed the standard of English football and a bad relationship with former coach Gianluca Vialli for his poor season with Chelsea.

"I felt very frustrated on the pitch and also in my relationships with the coach Gianluca Vialli, which were difficult or even impossible," Deschamps told the French press. "It was hard because I had a very different opinion of him as a player from the coach he became."

Speaking about Patrick Vieira, who was sent off in both of Arsenal's opening two games, Deschamps added: "A foreigner is less protected than a British player."

Meanwhile, the English Premier League are to seek urgent talks with the European Commission to try and force them to abandon the controversial plan to scrap transfers.

FIFA are set to announce their proposals for tackling the problem in Zurich today, following what is sure to be a stormy meeting with representatives of European governing body UEFA.

Having been told to report to the EC by September 20th, UEFA have become increasingly concerned that FIFA have failed to grasp the significance of the issue.

Unless some plausible alternative can be put before an increasingly agitated Commission, then Mario Monti, the European Union's competition commissioner, will rule the current transfer system to be an infringement of employment rights under the Treaty of Rome and force FIFA to abandon it.

Many clubs contend this would destroy the youth team structure, as wealthy clubs could cherry pick without restraint. And expensive recent signings would be able to leave for no fee and with minimal notice.

Brussels - Disputed offside decisions will be a thing of the past if Belgian inventor Antoon Soetens has invented an electronic device that he says could rule with 100 per cent accuracy whether a player was offside. The device passed its first test with flying colours on Sunday, performing without a hitch during the local derby between amateur sides FC Escanafles and FC Molenbaix, and Soetens will write to FIFA seeking approval for its use.

Middlesbrough boss Bryan Robson is hoping Paul Ince can convince international team-mate Steve McManaman to move to the club, despite the Real Madrid player's contention that he is not interested.