Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Published at 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
United pull out of FA Cup
Manchester United look set to play in Fifa's World Team Championship
Manchester United have confirmed they will accept the Football Association's offer of missing next season's FA Cup.
United chairman Martin Edwards said the club had "no alternative" but to accept the offer for one year only.
The FA wants United to play in the new tournament in Brazil next January - because they believe it could aid England's 2006 World Cup bid.
The FA's interim executive director, David Davies thanked United for what he agreed had been an "agonising decision".
Supporters and influential figures within the game have criticised the move, arguing that it devalues the oldest cup competition in world football.
In a statement Edwards said: "We realise that many of our supporters will be as disappointed as we are with our decision not to compete in the FA Cup.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been a long-time critic of the fixture congestion in English football and he was concerned his team would be unable to challenge for yet another trophy.
"We're in a no-win situation here. The criticism we would have received if we hadn't gone (to Brazil) would have been unthinkable - and that's a Scotsman speaking."
FA plans Premiership cut
The FA has proposed reducing the number of teams in the Premiership from 20 to 18 in an attempt to address next season's growing fixture chaos.
David Davies said: "We are very concerned about the amount of football that our players are playing.
But Davies also acknowledged the lack of support among Premiership clubs for a reduction - and was left in even less doubt as a clutch of clubs again spoke out in defiance.
Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale added: "I feel very strongly that domestic football is the foundation of our game, and if you undermine that the rest is likely to collapse."