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Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Home international plans on cards
Wales' Paul Price (left) prepares to challenge Scotland's Kenny Dalglish at Hampden in the 1980 Home Internationals Championship
The Home Internationals were scrapped in 1984
Discussions have taken place for a revival of the Home Internationals Championship - with the Republic of Ireland taking England's place.

Initial plans are to hold what has been called a Celtic Cup every two years with the first tournament scheduled to start in the 2008/09 season.

A semi-final round in August 2009 would be followed with a final and a third-place play-off in February 2010.

All four football associations are understood to be keen on the idea.

The intention is to play the games on designated Fifa dates for friendly internationals - thus avoiding any potential club-versus-country conflicts.

A meeting is scheduled to take place in Cardiff next month to discuss the proposal in detail.

"There have been discussions over the last two years," a spokesman for the Scottish Football Association told The Scotsman.

"The SFA is convinced it would be a good idea to have such a tournament, and that includes the team manager (Alex McLeish).

The SFA is convinced it would be a good idea to have such a tournament

SFA spokesman

"But because of the current fixture scheduling we would need a lead-in time of at least two years."

The Home Internationals Championship dates back to the 19th Century.

The annual mini-league tournament was a focal point of the British football season, enjoying its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, before being abandoned in 1984.

David Collins, secretary general of the Football Association of Wales, told the Scotsman: "Things are provisional, but if we could pull this off, the interest would be enormous.

"For the fans, the TV companies and potential sponsors, a Celtic Cup tournament would be huge.

"And for the managers of the respective teams it would be an opportunity to look at players in competitive friendlies.

"We are quite positive about the whole thing, although we appreciate a huge amount of work is needed before it could get off the ground.

Things are provisional, but if we could pull this off, the interest would be enormous

Secretary of the FAW
David Collins

"But the Celtic countries have had a meeting about it and we each decided to go away and work out ways whereby the tournament could be possible."

England have not been excluded from discussions but, with the Football Association cool on the idea, the Football Association of Ireland were asked to consider participation.

Collins added: "Their reasons for ending the old Home Internationals are well known.

"On the other hand, if we can get the tournament up and running and convince England there are practical solutions to the various issues, then they might want to become involved, anyway."


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