Spanish FA row may land North route to Euro 2008

UEFA has warned Spain they could be thrown out of Euro 2008, which may open the door for Northern Ireland.

UEFA have already warned Spain they may step in if the Spanish government tries to interfere in the election process of the Spanish FA.

“UEFA and FIFA deal with these sort of issues very seriously. These are no empty threats — we will back them up,” warned UEFA spokesman William Gaillard.

“It is similar to 1992 when Yugoslavia was suspended and Denmark, who finished second in the group, came in,” added Gaillard.

Spain and second-placed Sweden qualified for this summer’s finals in Austria and Switzerland from Group F, with Nigel Worthington’s side missing out after finishing third.

“We have heard nothing about this,” said Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy.

“There has been no communication and it is obviously an internal matter.”

l The Premier League have pulled out of their trip to see FIFA president Sepp Blatter tomorrow because they want more time to develop their plans for overseas matches.

The league’s chief executive Richard Scudamore had planned to go to FIFA headquarters with FA chairman Lord Triesman to try to persuade Blatter of the merits of each club playing a 39th game in a foreign city.

Blatter had already signalled his vehement opposition to the plans and now the league has decided to delay the visit.

A Premier League statement said: “Having consulted with FIFA, we have decided to delay our planned visit whilst we conduct further work prior to addressing them and their confederations formally.”

FIFA welcomed the Premier League’s decision: “FIFA welcomes the Premier League’s decision and initiative, which reestablishes the positive and constructive relations between the FA, the FA Premier League and world football’s governing body.”

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