Football: Hoey stirs Cup debate

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The Independent Online
THE NEW sports minister, Kate Hoey, yesterday criticised Manchester United for treating their fans "shabbily" and said they should play in the FA Cup.

Hoey took over from Tony Banks yesterday and immediately nailed her colours to a different mast as far as the FA Cup is concerned. Banks, who believes United's participation in the World Club Championships in Brazil in January will help England secure the bid to stage the 2006 World Cup, had supported their withdrawal from English football's traditional showpiece event.

But Hoey, a fan of United's closest rivals Arsenal, wants the Treble- winners to change their mind. She said: "I think it is something that should not be happening. Manchester United should be playing in the FA Cup. I still hope that something will happen that will make them able to play in it after all.

"I am just amazed that they have actually treated their supporters in what I would say was quite a shabby way."