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Thursday, November 11, 1999 Published at 21:32 GMT

Sport: Football

Wilko anger at postponement

Howard Wilkinson: Squad is ready with nowhere to play

England's under-21 European Championship play-off with Yugoslavia on Sunday has been postponed.

The England Under-21 coach Howard Wilkinson: "This was all taking place and I was blissfully unaware of this"
Coach Howard Wilkinson was upset at the decision to call off the one-legged game, which was due to be played in Luxembourg.

The Yugoslavs made demands for more security from their hosts for officials and players, which the hosts said they could not meet.

Wilkinson and the Football Association have been left infuriated by the decision to postpone the game "until further notice".

"The lads had earned the right to have two games home and away to qualify for next summer's Under-21 finals," Wilkinson said.

"Then, for political reasons, we have to accept there would be only one game. Now even that has had to be put back. It is very upsetting.

"All we want to do is play and win the game."

Football Association executive director, David Davies, says the tie will be rearranged "as soon as possible" if the FA has anything to do with it.

"This is a huge disappointment. We will work very hard to find a suitable venue for this important as soon as possible," Davies said.

"Everybody here has one aim and that is to give Howard Wilkinson and the under-21 team the chance they deserve."

Foreign Office advice

The tie had already been switched from a two-legged affair on the advice of the Foreign Office, who advised people not to travel to Yugoslavia following the recent bombing campaign by Nato forces.

There had been some hope that the game could be rearranged for midweek but the players must return to their clubs on Monday and it is too short notice to find a suitable venue and neutral country for the game to be played.

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