Venables wants closed-doors replay

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The Independent Online
Terry Venables remains keen to take England back to Dublin to replay the match with the Republic of Ireland, which was abandoned after 27 minutes last Wednesday following crowd violence. Saturday 25 March is free of Premiership fixtures, and has been mentioned as a possible date for the "replay", which Venables believes should be played behind closed doors.

The Football Association will not rule out the possibility, but David Davies, the FA spokesman, confirmed no firm plans have been made. "We still have to decide whether we see the game as a possibility, and hear whether the Irish would be interested anyway," he said.

Jack Charlton, the Ireland manager, is believed to favour another match, but the Irish government and top Irish football officials responded to the idea with a significant silence.

"The game itself is not an issue. It's the playing of it that matters," Venables said. "Even if it's a matter of going without any preparation, I would be for it. Even if we don't take any supporters I would be happy to play. It would show the thugs they cannot stop the game."

It is difficult to see any Ireland-England fixture being arranged until the question of compensation is settled. A £50,000 bill for damage to the Lansdowne Road ground is likely to be multiplied several times by personal-injury claims.

The Football Association of Ireland have said they will not take part in the police investigation into last week's events until the official inquiry has been concluded. The FAI has also decided to switch the European Under-21 Championship match against England on 28 March from Cork to Dalymount Park in Dublin because of security fears. England fans have been banned.

England's next scheduled away opponents, Norway, will discuss on Friday whether to go ahead with the friendly fixture in Oslo on 11 October. Willy Simonsen, the assistant general secretary of the Norwegian Football Association, said: "There has already been a lot of debate in Norway as to whether or not the game should go ahead."

Manchester United's Danish international goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, has threatened to boycott next year's European Championship in England unless the organisers can guarantee his safety. Following the riot in Dublin, he said that he fears for his life.

Jrgen Klinsmann, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, will captain the German national team for the first time against Spain on Wednesday. He takes over the role from Lothar Matthus, who is out for the rest of the season after tearing his Achilles tendon.

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