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Thursday, October 28, 1999 Published at 13:17 GMT


Man Utd confirm exit from FA Cup

The FA Cup final at Wembley is the biggest day in domestic football

Manchester United secretary Ken Merrett has confirmed the club will not be defending their title in this season's FA Cup.

The Football Association had given the club until Saturday evening's second round draw to decide whether to enter this season's competition.

BBC correspondent Rob Nothman: "After four months of wrangling they still couldn't sort out Man Utd's double booking"
But Mr Merrett says the club have already made their decision and the FA will recieve written confirmation on Friday.

The reigning champions insist they must sit out the competition if they are to have a viable chance in the inaugural World Club Championship in Brazil.

Former sports minister Tony Banks has defended their decision.

Sad decision

"It's a sad decision but unavoidable if Manchester United were to avoid a fixture congestion. That was what all this has been about."

The club's stance comes despite an eleventh-hour bid from Sir Bobby Charlton, a director at Old Trafford, to change the board's mind.

Sir Bobby said: "I would like to see us play in the FA Cup and the cup in Brazil.

"I believe my club has a responsibility to the history of the game in our country.

"With the best will in the world we would like to be in it but the (fixture) problems it creates are major problems."

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