Stefan Schwarz will quit Sunderland at the end of the season after announcing his intention to retire as a player when his contract expires this summer.

The former Sweden midfielder, whose only two appearances this campaign were in the Worthington Cup, has admitted he is likely not to risk further serious injury after suffering a number of fitness problems during his illustrious career.

Schwarz was put on the transfer list by Peter Reid last May, but a possible move to Benfica, one of his old clubs, never materialised.

Now, having failed to break into the Sunderland team under Reid and Howard Wilkinson, the 33-year-old expects to concentrate on a coaching career after he leaves Wearside.

Schwarz said: "I am still under contract with Sunderland and will train with the club until the end of the season, and then I will probably retire.

"I have had many injuries down the years and it's time I started to take care of my health. There is a life after football.

"I'll continue within football in some way. To start with, I will take more coaching courses and study other coaches. There are many skilled coaches in Sweden."

Schwarz learned recently that he will not face criminal charges after he was arrested following an altercation with two youths who threw snowballs at his car.

He added: "A few days ago, I found out that the case had been dropped. The police investigation led to nothing.

"Of course it's nice that it's over, but at the same time I've tried not to think about it too much."

l Goalkeeper Thomas Myrhe is set to miss the remainder of Sunderland's battle against relegation after he was told he must have an operation on his long-standing thigh injury.

l Sheffield United and Leeds will lose out on an estimated £100,000 in gate receipts after a safety advisory committee confirmed two blocks of one stand will be closed for Sunday's FA Cup clash at Bramall Lane, writes MARK DAVIS.

The decision follows a series of controversial incidents at the ground. The committee also took into account the problems which occurred when Sheffield United met Leeds in the Worthington Cup at Bramall Lane earlier in the season, when home fans invaded the pitch to taunt the away supporters after a 2-1 win.

A statement from Sheffield United said: ''The argument put forward to open G and H Blocks in the Laver Stand was not accepted by the licensing committee.

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