Football: Dons' Dublin move blocked

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The Independent Online
SAM HAMMAN'S threat to move Wimbledon to Dublin was neutered yesterday when Fifa, the world's governing body, barred clubs from playing in leagues outside their own country unless both national football associations were in favour. The ruling was prompted by the FA of Ireland's opposition to the proposed moves by both Wimbledon and Clydebank to the Irish capital. Hamman, who has been in dispute with Merton Council over the club's long- term home ever since it left Plough Lane to share Selhurst Park, will now have to find a solution within England.

In another debate at the Fifa Congress in Paris England's 2006 World Cup bid was further strengthened when a Dutch proposal that countries within the same federation - such as England and Germany - should not mount simultaneous bids to host the World Cup was rejected.

Meanwhile, one of the people largely responsible for organising this month's tournament in Paris, Michel Platini, has said that French authorities have turned their back on the World Cup and are not providing enough support.

Platini, the co-president of the World Cup organising committee, as well as being Sepp Blatter's running-mate in the Fifa presidential election, said: "France has done what it had to do, but nothing more," he said in an interview with a French newspaper.

The man who was France's former national coach and was also arguably their best player, criticised what he sees as a laissez-faire attitude in general in France. "Not everybody feels concerned by this event. For example the Culture Ministry doesn't give a damn. We have no links with them," he said. "So in many areas nothing has been planned."

Preparations at many of the 10 venues depended solely "on the personality of the [local] mayor," he stated. But Platini was more confident about the hosts chances of winning the World Cup and said that 10 teams were in the running. "I think France can," he predicted. "Never has a World Cup been so open. Ten teams stand a chance of winning."

In the interview, Platini also defended the organisers' ticketing policy, which the European Commission said discriminated against foreign fans by making only one third of the 2.5m tickets available outside France. "The debate was over the last 180,000 tickets for the retail market." Platini said. "The European Commission wanted us to sell them to everybody but French people. I thought it was a bit too much and we did what we had planned. You have to defend those who pay their income tax in France and who allow stadiums to be built or renovated.

"When the European Commission donates money for stadiums, maybe we will be ready to discuss with them. It's a personal point of view. You have to be a bit of diplomat in such moments. I'm not really that."

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