Four Associations Cup – a Missed Opportunity
So the Four Associations Cup is go for 2011. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland will compete in a round robin league format with two matches in February 2011 and the rest in May. All games will take place at a (by then) refurbished Lansdowne Road in Dublin.
So it’s basically the old Home Nations tournament (dead since 1984) but with Ireland taking the place of England. Which is why some are calling it the Celtic Cup.
Why no England? Here’s the impossibly dull official reason:
As there are limited international dates for opportunities to play nations from outside Europe, we like to use several dates to play teams from South America, Africa and Asia,” explained a spokesperson for the English FA.
“We have played several fixtures against the home nations since 1999 and our preference is to play one-off games rather than a tournament – if they fit in with the manager’s plans.”
What total bullshit. In an age where England friendlies are struggling to stir public interest (or sometimes player interest) this tournament would have been perfect. Lots of pride at stake and the all important factor of something at stake.
It would have been a perfect opportunity to give players a taste of tournament football and to see how certain untested players react to playing for England in a big game.
You can’t tell me that England players get more out of a dull Wembley friendly against say Japan or Ecuador than they would out of a competitive game where the opposition is gunning for you.
Not only that, it would likely have been a money spinner for the English FA, particularly if they were ever to host the event. So I suspect they’re not being entirely honest with us.
My guess is that the decision not to get involved is more to do with a fear of trouble than anything else. For multiple historical reasons, there’s a definite potential for crowd violence in games between England and any other team from the British Isles. Sad but true. And maybe the FA are doing everyone a favour by not pointing that out and making a big deal out of it.
But here’s hoping that at some point in the future the Four Associations Cup can become the Five Associations Cup and England can get involved without any problems.
MORE EUROPE BLOGS
1,026 articles | 12,643 comments
201 articles | 1,850 comments
196 articles | 324 comments
1,035 articles | 5,228 comments
687 articles | 5,278 comments
1,063 articles | 32,761 comments
2,566 articles | 73,523 comments
489 articles | 7,796 comments
562 articles | 10,664 comments
208 articles | 1,511 comments
347 articles | 3,327 comments
227 articles | 386 comments
270 articles | 452 comments
119 articles | 14,851 comments
231 articles | 217 comments
134 articles | 2,134 comments
129 articles | 124 comments
112 articles | 166 comments
16 articles | 8 comments
49 articles | 314 comments
78 articles | 281 comments
111 articles | 122 comments
72 articles | 149 comments
4 articles | 8 comments
49 articles | 59 comments
62 articles | 17 comments
52 articles | 112 comments
33 articles | 28 comments
18 articles | 20 comments
43 articles | 133 comments