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.

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice