Soccer Shorts


Action against Aragones: The Spanish Football Association yesterday opened a disciplinary file against Luis Aragones - but anti-racism campaigners expect the Spain coach to be let off with a warning.

Official action was taken following the recommendations of Spain's Anti-Violence Commission, two months after Aragones sparked a race row when he was caught on camera making racist remarks about Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. Aragones has also spoken out about England's colonial past prior to Spain's clash with Sven-Goran Eriksson's side last month.

The Kick Racism Out of Football campaign believe the two-month wait for action to be taken shows the Spanish FA are not prepared to stamp out racism. Campaign officials want Aragones to be sacked as coach - but are not confident of an adequate punishment for his comments. Aragones said: "I was expecting it, because the president (Angel Maria Villar) told me it was going to happen. In a case like this everyone has the right to defend themselves."

The investigation, which is expected to take between two and three months to complete, will look at whether Aragones breached the "conduct contrary to good order in sport". He could be fined up to €20,000 and have his coaching licence suspended.

London clubs charged

Chelsea and West Ham United were yesterday charged by the English Football Association following crowd trouble during their League Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. The clubs have until January 4th to answer the charges, relating to the October 27th match.

Edu ultimatum

Arsenal midfielder Edu has revealed his amazement after being handed a contract ultimatum by manager Arsene Wenger. Talks over a new deal for the Brazilian have stuttered since the summer, and

Edu admits they have now "stopped" as he weighs up his position.

He told Spanish newspaper AS it would be "magnificent" to play alongside Ronaldinho at Barcelona, with whom he has been repeatedly linked. Barcelona are flying high in the Primera Liga this season and with a strong Brazilian contingent at the Nou Camp, Edu revealed a move abroad would be attractive should he not sign a new Highbury deal before his contract expires in the summer.

Shevchenko wanted

Andrei Shevchenko's agent believes Chelsea cannot afford to pay the wages of the newly-crowned European Footballer of the Year.

The AC Milan striker has been linked to a big-money move to Stamford Bridge, with manager Jose Mourinho a long-time admirer. Mourinho has described him as the most complete forward in football, and with Milan keen to make Hernan Crespo's loan from Chelsea permanent, there has been talk of a swap involving both players.

Lennon concerned

Celtic midfielder Neil Lennon fears his teenage team-mate Aiden McGeady may inherit his mantle as the most hated player in Scotland. No player provokes a bigger reaction among opposition fans than Lennon, the former Northern Ireland international.

However, he has voiced fears that 18-year-old McGeady could be the new target for the boo-boys after opting to play for the Republic of Ireland instead of Scotland, the nation of his birth and he told Celtic View: "That was entirely his prerogative, and it would be a shame if people made him a target because of it."

Henry targeted

Arsenal star Thierry Henry and former Arsenal star Ian Wright were targeted in a plot by a gang of armed burglars, it was revealed yesterday. The alarm was raised after police received information that violent criminals had the France international and his north London neighbour under surveillance.

Armed undercover officers were reportedly installed inside Henry's multi-million pound home in Hampstead. TV presenter and pundit Wright is said to be due to speak about his security with officers.

A spokesman for the Sport Entertainment and Media Group, which represents both men confirmed the reports were true.

In brief . . .

Glasgow Celtic want Chelea's Scott Parker on loan until the end of the season . . . Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger faces a Football Association disciplinary hearing today after being charged with improper conduct following his side's stormy October encounter with Manchester United . . . Injury-plagued Southampton striker Marian Pahars has suffered yet another setback on his road to recovery from a damaged ankle . . . Blackburn midfielder Barry Ferguson was yesterday charged by the Football Association with improper conduct during Saturday's match against Crystal Palace.