International soccer FAI will not seek support of others over cancellation

THE FAI last insisted it will not ask other countries for support in the row with Uefa over the cancellation of tomorrow's Euro 2000 qualifier with Yugoslavia.

And Chief Executive Bernard O'Byrne also claimed the FAI would be willing to travel “at any time and to any place” to get a personal hearing should Uefa decide to exact punishment for the postponement.

Uefa puzzled everyone at Merrion Square for most of yesterday by declaring the match was going ahead as planned tomorrow as they had received no official notification otherwise.

The FAI disputed this, spokesman Brendan McKenna insisting they had written to Uefa on Wednesday night and again yesterday morning.

“I don't see how they can say they have not received official notification of the postponement,” he said.

Finally last night Uefa conceded the game was not going ahead but warned it would be writing to EU countries to see if all member states felt they could host Yugoslavia. Malta are likely to play Yugoslavia at home in Tuesday night's qualifier, although it is not an EU country.

O'Byrne admitted Uefa competitions secretary Guido Tognoni informed him there is a range of measures open to Uefa in response to Ireland's failure to fulfil a home fixture.

“We know we have a lot of support among the 51 nations in Uefa although we won't be trying to canvas that support,” he said.

“We hope Uefa will listen to reason and realise that this is an occasion for the use of commonsense.

“We would very much like the opportunity to sit down with the Yugoslavs and discuss a mutually acceptable date for re-arranging the game in Dublin once there is a return to some sort of stability in the Balkans situation.”

Mick McCarthy is giving his players a day off today, and tomorrow, when they should have been involved in an important Euro 2000 qualifying game, the seniors will play the U21s in a low-key challenge game behind closed doors.

Irish soccer: Omagh call halt on United tickets

OMAGH Town Football Club have stopped taking ticket applications for the upcoming friendlies with Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool after being inundated with requests.

And Omagh manager Roy McCreadie has revealed he is due to fly to Manchester to meet Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards to discuss arrangements for the Red Devils trip to St Julian's Road on August 3/4.

The Omagh boss said although the acceptance of ticket applications had been suspended, that was not to say people couldn't still apply at a later date.

“At the moment we have sackloads of mail lying about the place and we just need to bring the thing under control,” he said.

Club officials, who are organising the event in aid of the Omagh Fund, will now wade through the thousands of applications giving priority to people from the Omagh area.

Relatives of those killed in the Omagh atrocity on August 15 of last year as well as those injured in the bomb will be given tickets.

In a goodwill gesture, Omagh Town will also be giving the 12-14 soccer clubs in the Omagh District Council area the opportunity to buy a number of tickets.

McCreadie confirmed it was still the team's intention to stay overnight in Omagh although arrangements for the post-match dinner have still to be finalised.

Although it's understood some United fanatics have been attempting to book in to the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh on the night in question, McCreadie declared the club had blockbooked every room in the hotel.

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