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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 22:15 GMT
Home internationals set to return
By Ian Dennis
BBC 5 Live football reporter

Scots supporters invade the Wembley pitch in the home international in 1977
Scots supporters invade the Wembley pitch in 1977
Home internationals are set to return to the fixture list as early as February 2008 but do not currently include England, BBC Sport understands.

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will announce their participation in a new competition, called the Celtic Cup.

The quartet would play fixtures in February and March with the conclusion to the competition coming in May.

England have about a week to come to an agreement if they wish to take part.

An FA spokesman said: "We have no firm plans in place at this stage and there have been no discussions over a Home International tournament."

The Celtic Cup remains subject to confirmation but it is likely to be played every two years.

The competition would have a similar format to the old Home Championship which was staged every year until 1984.

Matches between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were eventually scrapped because of increasing fixture congestion.

606: DEBATE

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would welcome the revival of home internationals to ease the pain of Euro 2008 misery for the four home nations.

England's defeat by Croatia, following the failures of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales triggered calls for the sides to face each other in 2008.

"I would certainly enjoy that. I've got great memories from the 1960s and 70s," Brown said.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith has said he is in favour of the move and hopes to raise the matter with the FA over the weekend at the World Cup qualifying draw in South Africa.

It is the first time since 1994 that no home nations have qualified for a major tournament.

Some people have called for a revival of the home internationals - I would enjoy that

Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Scotland battled valiantly but finished third in a group including Italy and France, while Northern Ireland's fate was sealed when they were beaten in Spain on Wednesday.

Wales's campaign was in tatters after a string of early defeats.

The prime minister said it was "desperately disappointing", adding: "In some cases that's down to bad luck. In some it's bad results.

"I know every football fan in Britain was looking forward to a summer of football next year, so it's very disappointing."

Brown added: "I know some people have called for a one-off revival next year of the Home Internationals.

"That's something for the football associations and clubs to consider."



SEE ALSO
England 2-3 Croatia
21 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Spain 1-0 Northern Ireland
21 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Scots eye summer England fixture
12 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Wales 0-2 Germany
08 Sep 07 |  Welsh
Scotland 1-2 Italy
17 Nov 07 |  Internationals


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