A row over television money could end with a complete shut-down of Premiership football. The Professional Footballers' Association insists it has the backing of all 92 clubs for possible strike action.
The row centres on the recent £1bn television deal the Premiership has agreed with Sky and ITV. Previous deals have seen the PFA allocated between five and 10 per cent of the contract and have been discussed six months before the start of a new contract. But the PFA chairman, Gordon Taylor, is said to be furious as the Premiership has so far said only that the matter would be discussed at a meeting of the Premiership chairmen on 19 August.
"You could imagine how serious it could become," Taylor said. "The Football League and the FA have settled their share of the deal along with the Premiership. But the Premiership have not even suggested a figure to us yet."
The last time a strike ballot took place, in 1996, 94 per cent of all professional players came out in support of the PFA.
The Ipswich captain, Matt Holland, has pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad for Wednesday's friendly against Croatia at Lansdowne Road with knee and ankle injuries.
The Bayern Munich midfielder Mehmet Scholl has withdrawn from Germany's squad for Wednesday's friendly game in Hungary. The 30-year-old faces a fight for fitness with the crucial World Cup qualifier against England less than three weeks away. Also out are the Bayer Leverkusen duo of midfielder Michael Ballack and centre-back Jens Nowotny.Reuse content