Home internationals tournament would be a one-off

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The Independent Online

The Football Association today revealed they were in talks to play the other home nations in 2013 but had no interest in reviving the Home International tournament.

The FA are investigating the possibility of holding a series of matches against Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations.

But general secretary Alex Horne poured cold water on the idea it could become a permanent arrangement.

"We're talking to the home nations about a possible one-off round of matches with them," said Horne, speaking at the official announcement of the FA's new partnership with Vauxhall.

"I think we'd be talking about a series of one-off matches in 2013 to mark our 150th anniversary."

The other home nations, and the Republic of Ireland, have organised their own four-team tournament in Dublin next month.

But Horne insists the success of that venture would have no impact on the FA's position on annual matches against them.

"I don't think that has a necessary bearing on our ultimate decision," he said.

Vauxhall managing director Duncan Aldred insisted the matter was for the FA but admitted he would love to see the return of a tournament last played in 1984.

"I've got fond memories of of the home internationals," he said.

"Commercially, it would be good for us as well."

Today's announcement of Vauxhall as the lead partner to all England's teams was widely anticipated for some time.

The car giant have filled the void left by Nationwide, who ended their 11-season association with the FA in the wake of England's humiliating World Cup exit.

The FA had turned down an offer from Nationwide to extend their sponsorship and Horne insisted they got a "substantially" better deal from Vauxhall.

"It is more than I turned down from Nationwide in the run-up to the World Cup," he said of the contract, which is reportedly in excess of £20million.

The three-and-a-half-year deal runs until 31 July 2014 - after the next World Cup - and also sees Vauxhall become the official vehicle supplier to the FA.

They are expected to confirm deals with the FAs of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - who also lost Nationwide in July.

Horne added: "Through a difficult economic climate, we have concluded a deal of considerable value to the FA and we can now look forward with optimism.

"Everyone is aware of the difficulties of last year, but we have an opportunity to move forward and there is much in 2011 to be excited about.

"Vauxhall are also our Official Youth Partner for 12-18 year olds, a key area of attention at the moment.

"Adrian Bevington, Sir Trevor Brooking and I have been investing a lot of time on our plans for youth development and this partnership will be key to those plans.

"We've put together what I believe is a groundbreaking plan to develop youth at all levels and I want to see that implemented."

England manager Fabio Capello said: "We will do all we can to reward Vauxhall for their support and this begins with our first objective of the new year - to qualify for Euro 2012.

"I remember I was Milan manager. They started with me, the same company, and we won a lot of titles.

"We've got a good team. 2011 is a very important year.

"I hope for the next games we have to play, the best players will be fit.

"My goal is qualify for the Euros and it will be really important every game that we play."

Horne added: "I think qualification for the Euros is vital. We were all bitterly disappointed when we didn't qualify for Euro 2008.

"We know what we need to do to qualify for 2012."

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