England friendlies with Scotland may return

Emily Ashton,Pa
Wednesday 13 January 2010 14:05
England may enter into an annual fixture with Scotland
England may enter into an annual fixture with Scotland

Friendly internationals between Scotland and England could be set to return, the Government said today.

Scotland Secretary Jim Murphy told MPs he had spoken to the Scottish Football Association about a potential return of the fixture, adding: "Bring it on."

At Commons question time, Mr Murphy also pointed to the imminent return of the Home Internationals, with the Republic of Ireland replacing England.

The annual football tournament between the UK's national teams lasted for a century until 1984.

Independent MP Andrew Pelling (Croydon Central) suggested that the promotion of Scottish culture throughout the UK could be encouraged by having both Celtic and Rangers play in the English leagues.

Mr Murphy said he had to declare an interest as a "part-time follower of one of those teams".

He said: "That is of course a decision for the football authorities and the football clubs themselves.

"But what I do think would enhance cross-border cultural exchange would be a return of the Scotland versus England friendly football matches.

"The Home Internationals will return shortly I think, with Ireland replacing England, but I think there's now a commitment for a return of the Scotland v England football matches.

"I've spoken to the SFA about it; there was an agreement to have it in 2008 but Scotland withdrew from that."

He added: "I think it would be a remarkable sporting event and a highlight of the football calendar so bring it on."

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