FA divisions pose threat to Eriksson's plans

Sven Goran Eriksson's plans for a four-week break for his England squad ahead of next year's World Cup finals have been thrown into chaos by a bizarre internal row within the Football Association that highlights the fundamental problems with the governing body's structure.

The FA's board has proposed cutting replays in fifth- and sixth-round matches that involved teams in Europe in order to finish the season in time to allow Eriksson four weeks of preparation with the England squad. However, the FA's Challenge Cup committee has thrown out the idea, despite having several members who also serve on the FA board.

The saga is the first time that the new chief executive, Brian Barwick, has been undermined by the archaic committee structure that still holds power at Soho Square. Of the 92 elected members on the FA Council many of them serve on the body's various committees. Premier League chairman, Dave Richards, Southampton's Rupert Lowe and Bolton's Phil Gartside serve on both the FA board and the FA Challenge Cup committee.

Effectively, those three helped propose the reforms and were also part of the Challenge Cup committee, which includes Manchester United's David Gill and Blackburn's Robert Coar, that rejected them. The plan to drop replays is understood to have been opposed by Challenge Cup committee members at the top of the professional game as well as those in the amateur game.

Eventually the decision to scrap certain replays could be made by the FA board over the heads of the Challenge Cup committee at a meeting on Thursday and the board may also call on the entire 92-man council to give it support. In the meantime it is a blow to Eriksson who was counting on the support of the FA to give him the time with his squad that is recommended in Fifa directives.

The Premier League is unable to start next season early, as has been suggested in some quarters, because it cannot interfere with the FA Community Shield game or pre-season tours to which clubs are committed. Privately, the Premier League is astonished at the FA's inability to solve its scheduling problem and feels that it has helped as much as it can to create a four-week break.

The dispute is the kind of issue that Lord Burns's independent review of the FA has been established to look at. The basic conflict, once again, centres upon the clubs, the needs of the England national team and the determination of certain FA councillors to protect the integrity of the FA Cup competition.

* The League Managers Association and the Premier League have agreed a clampdown on what they perceive as unfair criticism of match referees - Jose Mourinho's "cheat" jibe at the referee Neale Barry after Chelsea's Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester United being one example. The chief executive of the LMA, John Barnwell, and his counterpart at the Premier League Richard Scudamore met yesterday to discuss the issue and have pledged to take action to stamp out the problem.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower