David Burnside, the England Under-19 manager, today announces his 18-strong squad which is expected to include Nick Barmby, Chris Bart-Williams and Ian Selley, all of whom are vital to the plans of, respectively, Tottenham, Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal - three clubs with strong cup ambitions. Spurs, anxious to field Barmby in their FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester City on 7 March, have already appealed to Lancaster Gate not to pick their 19-year-old prodigy for the Australian event.
The request by Spurs - echoed by other concerned clubs - appears doomed. 'Our view is that we need to put out a team that does English youth football justice, and that obviously implies selecting your best players,' David Bloomfield, the FA spokesman, said. 'We think it is in the long-term interests of the players that they take part in such a prestige tournament.
'There is no structure for a formal appeal against selection. Several clubs have indicated to us their stance, and we have replied.' If clubs withhold their tyros, the FA has the power to discipline them. 'These are Fifa rules. Clubs can be charged with misconduct if they break them, and they would then face an appropriate punishment.'
The championships are being staged now to accommodate the South Americans, who had problems with the summer timing when it was last held, in 1991. England are drawn against the United States, Turkey and Korea. Burnside's team play the Asians on 7 March - the day Barmby's club-mates step out at Maine Road.
Ken Bates, the Chelsea chairman who watched his side stumble to their 13th game without a win on Sunday, warned yesterday that 'for the rest of the season every player and member of the management team is on trial'. In a letter to season-ticket holders, Bates wrote: 'If we are going to build the best stadium in England, it must be matched by the team. Nothing less will do.
'Inevitably, in the last few years, we have been preoccupied with saving our ground. That is now behind us. The dressing-room will be under much closer scrutiny in the future.'
John Beck, the manager of Preston, whose recent record is almost as woeful as Chelsea's, has transfer-listed the entire Deepdale squad.
Vinnie Jones's appeal against his pounds 20,000 fine will be heard by the FA on Thursday. The Wimbledon midfielder received the punishment for his involvement with a video glorifying dirty tricks.
For the visit of Jones's club on Saturday, Aston Villa are taking the Tipp-Ex to ticket prices. The cheapest will cost only pounds 1, as part of Villa's pounds 10,000 advertising campaign to swell attendances.
Gary McAllister, the Leeds United captain, yesterday signed a new three-year contract.
More football, page 31Reuse content