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August 12, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ With the financial gulf widening between England’s rich and poor soccer clubs, players from teams outside the Premier League renewed their threat of a strike Monday over a drop in their income from TV rights.

Mick McGuire, assistant chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said the group had decided to poll its members on strike action because the Football League, which represents non-Premier League clubs, had stopped paying the PFA the 10 percent levy from TV income.

``It’s important our members vote on it,″ McGuire said. ``We’re aware that the league has threatened legal action to stop us doing this, but it’s an industrial dispute and we’re entitled to ballot our members.″

With the first league games only six days away, the vote comes too late to disrupt the start of the season. But the fact that it is happening casts a shadow over clubs who can’t survive without income from TV, sponsorship and ticket sales.

Meanwhile, a report on the game’s financial state showed that Premier League clubs such as Manchester United and Tottenham continued to make big money through TV and sponsorship deals. But clubs outside were in such bad shape that the overall picture of the 92 teams was of a loss of $21.8 million for the 1994-95 season.

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Punter Tuten Signs With Seahawks

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) _ Punter Rick Tuten has ended his three-week holdout and signed a two-year, $750,000 contract, a cut from last season, with the Seattle Seahawks.

To make room for Tuten, the Seahawks placed defensive lineman Keif Bryant on the injured reserve list for the season. They also waived injured linebacker Tyronne Stowe, who is out for the season with a broken arm.

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Crotty Leaves Cavaliers, Signs With Italian Team

BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) _ Guard John Crotty, who played with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 1995-96 NBA season, has signed with Teamsystem Bologna, a losing finalist in the Italian league playoffs last season.

Team officials said Monday that Crotty signed a one-year contract for $500,000.

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Former England Coach Takes Over At Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) _ Former Barcelona, Tottenham and England coach Terry Venables moved down the scale Monday when he took over at Division One club Portsmouth as its director of football.

Last season, the club barely avoided relegation to Division Two and is currently losing $83,700 a week.

Portsmouth won consecutive league titles in 1949 and ’50, but has spent only one season in the top flight since 1959.

Venables, who won titles with Barcelona and Tottenham, decided to step down as England coach because he was facing a series of time-consuming legal actions arising out of his business interests. He led England to the semifinals of the European Championship, before losing to eventual champion Germany after a penalty shootout.

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Arsenal Fires Manager

LONDON (AP) _ Less than a week before the start of the English soccer season, Arsenal fired manager Bruce Rioch on Monday.

Rioch took over at Arsenal last season and made two big moves in the transfer market. He signed Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp for a club record $11.6 million from Inter Milan and England captain David Platt from Sampdoria for $7.36 million.

Arsenal made a late run to climb to fifth in the standings and clinch a place in next season’s UEFA Cup, but made no impact in the two domestic cup competitions.

Assistant manager Stewart Houston and coach Pat Rice will be in charge of the team in the interim.

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