Football: FA seeks government help

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THE Football Association will climax a season of cornflake diplomacy this morning by urging the Government to create a special planning committee to help them run the 1996 European Championships.

The appeal is to be made in Bournemouth, where the FA hosts a meeting with key Conservative politicians that will conclude a series of power-breakfasts at the major party conferences.

Iain Sproat, the Minister for Sport, is due to attend this morning's get-together and the FA will ask him to assist Euro '96 by emulating the approach of the United States government to the World Cup.

The Clinton administration formed an inter-departmental body, chaired by vice-President Al Gore, to cut through the red tape and co-ordinate World Cup planning. It proved very successful.

A similar body here would involve representatives of such Government departments as the Home Office, Transport and Education.

David Davies, the FA's director of public affairs, said: 'This is the biggest sporting event in this country since the 1966 World Cup. When you consider the number of spectators and media expected it surpasses even that.

''It is a huge opportunity for tourism and culture. It could, for example, be used in schools to illustrate the new Europe. Our task is to ensure people realise that.'