Football briefs: Sion | ESPN | Sinisa Mihajlovic

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FORMER AC Milan and Rangers midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has moved into management after being appointed player-coach of Swiss club FC Sion.

The Super League club confirmed that Victor Munoz had taken a “step back” following a 4-0 defeat at FC Thun, with 35-year-old Gattuso assuming control of the first team for the rest of the season.

Gattuso arrived as Sion’s marquee summer signing after ending a 13-year association with Milan, and the campaign began with the expectation of a title challenge after a ninth-place last season. But despite a strong start, Sion have lost three of their past four games to slip to fourth in the table.

Gattuso’s first match in charge is a Swiss Cup quarter-final trip to Lausanne, where Sion’s former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty will hope to add to his four-goal tally for the season.

• The Scottish Premier League has welcomed BT’s acquisition of ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business as safeguarding their broadcasting deal.

From next season, BT Sport viewers will be able to watch the package of matches currently shown on ESPN. SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We look forward to working closely with BT from the beginning of next season.

“Today’s announcement means that top-flight football will continue to be broadcast by Sky Sports and now BT, providing a solid financial bedrock and the best possible platform to promote the game in Scotland.”

ESPN announced a five-year agreement with the SPL in August last year, which gave them the right to screen 30 matches as well as ten Rangers games in the Third Division.

• The bitter memories of Balkan conflicts that tore the former Yugoslavia apart should take a back seat to football when Serbia visit Croatia in next month’s World Cup qualifier in Zagreb, Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic said last night.

The 44-year-old former international, who won the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade in 1991 shortly before Yugoslavia’s violent break-up, said: “The match with Croatia will be a game of football and not war and it won’t be a problem. I expect my players to deal with the occasion because those football players who can’t take the pressure of high-profile games should get into another line of work, like office jobs.”

The teams have never met as independent nations, and the 22 March game in Group A, Scotland’s group, will be played under tight security.