Rangers winger Andrei Kanchelskis said last night that he would welcome an inquiry into the allegations that Sir Alex Ferguson had been offered a bribe of #40,000 to conclude his transfer to Manchester United five years ago.

In his newly published autobiography, ''Managing My Life'', Sir Alex has maintained that he was given the money in a parcel by Grigory Essaoulenko, who was the Russian agent for the player at that time.

Ferguson handed the cash to his club officials and the money remained in a club safe for a year until it was handed back. Since then, Kanchelskis has moved from United on to Everton, to Fiorentina in Italy, and then, last summer, to Rangers.

Yesterday, the Russian internationalist, who remains Rangers' most expensive signing at #5.5m, said: ''I have had not contact with this agent since the transfer to Manchester United. He has not been a part of my career since then.

''I do not think that there was anything wrong with my going to Old Trafford. The first time I heard any of this talk was on Monday, the same time as everyone else.

''I did not like my name being used like this. I have not accepted any gifts like this and I would not do so. Let FIFA or UEFA decide on this, let them hold an enquiry if that is what is necessary.

''I know that I have nothing at all to fear from any investigation. I did not receive any money from this agent.

''And there was no involvement by this man, who has been named, in my transfer to Rangers. I have nothing to do with him anymore and have not done so for nearly five years. I have nothing at all to hide.''

At present, Kanchelskis is out of the Rangers team with an Achilles problem and he says: ''It is a worry just now because these injuries can be complicated. But I want to be back and help the team in the Champions' League.''

Meanwhile, the FA, while accepting that there has been no wrong-doing on Ferguson's part, will help FIFA in their enquiries into the affair.

qWales have snubbed Terry Venables and given Southampton striker Mark Hughes the chance to prove he is worthy of a long-term contract to manage his country.

The FA of Wales yesterday rejected Venables because of his pay demands and his insistence on a 12-month get-out clause. Venables' demands included #200,000 per year wages, plus two assistants that would have pushed the total bill to more than #400,000.

Instead, they turned to their country's current senior professional and have given Hughes the final two Euro 2000 qualifiers against Belarus and Switzerland to try to salvage qualification.

Last night's results


Bray Wanderers 0, Celtic (Johnson, Brattbakk) 2; Haddington 2, Hearts XI 3; Armadale 2, Cowdenbeath 4; Everton 4, PSV Eindhoven 3; Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1; Omagh Town 0, Manchester United 9.

Tonight's fixtures

European Cup Second Qualifying Round, Second Leg - Rangers v FC Haka (7.45).

UEFA Intertoto Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg - Heerenveen v West Ham United (7.00).