Sven Goran Eriksson's hopes for a four-week break before the start of the next World Cup were realised yesterday when Fifa announced plans to minimise player burn-out.
Last month, the England coach made a personal plea to Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body, asking for extra time to allow players to recover from the domestic season. Now Fifa's European counterpart, Uefa, has agreed to move the Champions' League final forward a week to 17 May 2006, and all domestic football must finish on 14 May, leaving four weeks until the start of the World Cup on 9 June.
In another move, Europe and South America will not be required to field their reigning champions in the Confederations Cup from 2009. Blatter also announced a review of the men's Olympic tournament that could lead to teams no longer being allowed to field three players over 23.
Blatter also rebuked Chelsea and Coventry for their "unacceptable" behaviour over releasing players. Chelsea's Adrian Mutu is in conflict with his club after Jose Mourinho claimed he was injured. He has since declared himself fit and played for Romania against the Czech Republic. Coventry have also provoked Blatter's anger by warning Stern John that he may lose his place if he plays for Trinidad and Tobago.
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