Santini's fury at Fifa showpiece

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The Independent Football

The France coach, Jacques Santini, has criticised Fifa's decision to stage their centennial match between his team and Brazil on 20 May - and has given Arsenal a boost by threatening to leave out players who have important club duties the following weekend.

Football's world governing body, which announced a record profit of $113m (£60.7m) yesterday, insists the match will not be moved, even though it comes just two days before the FA Cup final and the last weekend of the French, Spanish and German league seasons.

The showpiece is to be staged at the Stade de France, and many club managers have joined Santini in expressing their indignation at Fifa's choice of date.

Should Arsenal, for example, reach the FA Cup final, they would lose the services of key players such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira in the run-up to the match, if Santini exercised his right to select them.

The France coach, who does not want to strain his good relationships with club managers, said: "This match represents a huge problem that Fifa has imposed on me. I believe there will be lots of key players missing. I have too much respect for them all to call up a 20-man list and maybe I will take only two or three from my Euro 2004 23-man squad.

"I also have too much respect for second-choice players such as [Sabri] Lamouchi, [Frédéric] Dehu or [Martin] Djetou. I cannot only call them up for that match, it would not be decent. To be honest, I really don't know what I am going to do."

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