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The BBC's Rob Nothman
"Leicester are angry at the timing of today's announcement"
 real 28k

Thursday, 3 February, 2000, 18:36 GMT
Leicester players charged over tickets

Steve Guppy in action in the 1999 Worthington Cup final against Tottenham Steve Guppy is one of the Leicester players who have been implicated

Eight Leicester City players and officials have been charged over their alleged role in irregular ticket distribution for last year's Worthington Cup final.

Players Steve Guppy, Neil Lennon, Graham Fenton, Arnar Gunnlaugsson and Stuart Campbell together with Foxes' chief scout Jim Melrose, academy director David Nish and physio Ian Andrews are all facing misconduct charges.

We are delighted that 17 of the players and staff originally charged have now been completely vindicated
Leicester spokesman Paul Mace
Tony Cottee and Andy Impey, who have already been charged by the FA, have asked for personal hearings.

The charges follow a six-month FA inquiry into alleged illegal ticketing, which caused segregation problems and led to crowd trouble during Leicester's match with Spurs at Wembley.

Earlier charges of failing to assist the FA inquiry against 25 Leicester players and officials have now been withdrawn on the receipt of further co-operation and information.

Leicester are angry the charges were brought in the first place.

Lennon: Misconduct charge
"We are delighted that 17 of the players and staff originally charged have now been completely vindicated and all charges against them have been dropped," said media relations officer Paul Mace.

"These 17 people should never have been charged in the first place and we would expect a full apology from the Football Association for the embarrassment and worry they have been caused.

"We are also extremely disappointed that the FA have seen fit 10 months after the 1999 final to change the original charges laid against eight players and members of staff.

"The timing of the FA's announcement, coming less than 24 hours after Leicester City have reached a second successive Worthington Cup final, is a little insensitive to say the least.

"We find it hard to believe that the FA should still be nowhere near completing this inquiry from the first final.

Spurs' David Ginola and Leicester's Robbie Savage clash during the match
"The eight concerned are extremely angry and upset and will be taking independent legal advice. It goes without saying that they will be protesting their innocence most strongly at the inquiry".

The Football League have already taken steps to prevent similar ticketing problems occurring at this year's final between Leicester and Tranmere Rovers on February 27.

Players will be allowed to buy a maximum of 25 tickets, compared with 75 last year.

Each of the finalists will also have to give a written commitment to distribute their tickets in a responsible manner.

Full conformity

"Regarding this year's allocation of tickets, we will be adopting an open house policy in terms of the size of the allocation of tickets to our supporters, sponsors, corporate backers, players and members of staff," said Mr Mace.

"We will be conforming fully to the new Football League guidelines regarding the distribution of tickets. This club has nothing to hide whatsoever."

Advisory letters on the issue of the withdrawn charges have been sent to: Steve Walsh, Steve Guppy, Andy Impey, Muzzy Izzet, Garry Parker, Pegguy Arphexad, Graham Fenton, Frank Sinclair, Robbie Savage, Neil Lennon, Gerry Taggart, Stuart Campbell, Stuart Wilson, Matt Elliott and Stefan Oakes.

Similar advisory letters have also been sent to ten coaching staff: Neville Hambleton, Jim Melrose, David Nish, John Rudkin, Seamus McDonagh, Michael Yeomans, Bob Walls, Paul McAndrew, Paul Franklin and Steve Walford.

The hearing into the allegations of misconduct will take place at Filbert Street on March 15, three weeks after this year's Worthington Cup final between Leicester and Tranmere.

Anyone found guilty of the charge faces the possibility of a lengthy ban from receiving further FA tickets.

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See also:
02 Sep 99 |  Football
Leicester players charged over tickets
22 Mar 99 |  Football
Nielsen nicks it for Spurs
08 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Football officials suspended in ticket probe
02 Feb 00 |  Football
Leicester book Wembley date
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.