Football / World Cup USA '94: Charlton wins water change

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The Independent Online
JACK CHARLTON ran into trouble with Fifa, the governing body of world football, yesterday over the repeated criticism the Republic of Ireland manager has made concerning the availability of water for his players during World Cup matches.

Charlton had pointed out the problems for his team in the baking-hot temperatures with Fifa's erstwhile policy that drinks may only be consumed by the touchline. He complained that those in the middle of the field did not have that opportunity and he was also unhappy that Tommy Coyne was forced to wait until long after the Italy match on Saturday before he could take a shower because he was waiting to give a urine sample as part of a mandatory drugs test.

Fifa has grown tired of his complaints and has suggested that he concentrate his attention on tomorrow's match with Mexico in Orlando's Citrus Bowl.

Sepp Blatter, Fifa's general secretary, said 'it was no coincidence that the only manager to complain was the one from Ireland'. He went on: 'He does not have a problem with water, he has a problem with officials at most stadiums and that is not Fifa's fault. If his players want water against Mexico they can have it. There is no problem and he should stop complaining.'

The head of Fifa's media affairs, Guido Tognini, went further claiming that Charlton was trying to create an atmosphere where the world was seen to be lining up against his squad. 'It's just his way of motivating his players. He seems to be making a lot of complaints. No other coach or manager has seen fit to make the type of criticism Mr Charlton aims at Fifa every day of the competiton.'

Fifa has now ruled that water bags, but not bottles, can be thrown onto the field of play and consumed. Charlton said that it proved his efforts on behalf of his team were entirely correct.

'It's rubbish to claim that tending to the welfare of my players was not part of my job,' he said. 'They trust me to do what is right for them and I will continue to do it. We have been right in pursuing this matter and Fifa's change of heart proves that.'

Tony Cascarino, who was hoping to be a candidate for Coyne's lone striking role against Mexico tomorrow, has ruled himself out of the match and he is also doubtful for the last game of the group stage against Norway on Tuesday.

Cascarino sustained a left-leg calf muscle injury two weeks ago and has not trained since. 'The earliest I could train would be Monday and I don't see how I could play a day later against Norway,' Cascarino said.

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