FOOTBALL:FA close to pounds 1m tournament deal

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The Football Association are about to seal a pounds 1m deal to play in an international tournament in France in 1997, writes Glenn Moore.

The competition, which would also feature Brazil and Germany, is planed as a dry run for the World Cup finals, to be staged in France the following summer. Italy had originally been touted to take part but were withdrawn after being drawn in the same World Cup qualifying group as England.

The tournament will have a dual purpose. While it will be good preparation for the respective national squads, it will also prove a searching test of the ability of the French and English police services to prevent hooliganism during the '98 finals.

A pounds 50,000 grant by the Football Trust will allow the Football Supporters Association to open ''Football Embassies'' in each of the eight host cities for Euro '96. The embassies, staffed by FSA volunteers, will help foreign fans with accommodation, travel, legal advice and other problems.

The FSA will also issue a pocket-sized Fans Guide to be given to foreign supporters on arrival and run a telephone hotline.