Football: United may quit Cup shock

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The Independent Online
TREBLE CUP holders Manchester United may not defend their FA Cup title so they can play in another competition which will decide "the undisputed best club in the world".

The Football Association wants to ease Manchester United's fixture congestion to enable them to play in Fifa's inaugural World Team Championship, and thereby boost England's chances of hosting the 2006 World Cup.

David Davies, the FA's interim executive director, last night explained the offer. "For the first time, there is a competition which will produce the undisputed best club in the world and we believe that Manchester United should have the chance to be part of that," he said.

"We believe that it would send the worst possible signal to world football at a time when we are in the midst of the 2006 bid to turn our backs on this tournament."

The FA made the offer after consultation with Manchester United, the Premier League and the Government. It was felt that if the club did not take part in the World Team Championship and second choice Bayern Munich did so in their place, then Germany would gain a huge advantage in the race to stage the 2006 World Cup.

Sport, page 3