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Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 18:19 UK

Celtic nations to play 2011 event

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have announced plans to hold an international tournament in 2011.

The Four Associations Tournament will take place in Dublin, with a league format seeing two matches played in February, with a further four in May.

"I'm delighted this has become a reality," said Scottish FA president George Peat.

"This new event will celebrate the game and give our fans a great experience."

There have been discussions for some time over a proposed Celtic Cup between the nations, with the idea of a biennial tournament agreed in principal.

The English FA were asked if they wished to take part in such an event, but they declined.

John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland said he was delighted his country would be staging the tournament.

"This will be the first time Ireland has hosted a senior international tournament and the atmosphere around Dublin will be tremendous with all the travelling fans," he said.

"With so many connections between the countries there are bragging rights at stake, and it's sure to grab the attention of people across the UK and Ireland."

Wales hosted the initial meeting in November 2007 to discuss the possibility of a modernised format of the old British International Tournament.

"We look forward to crossing swords with our two cousins across the Irish Sea, as well as Scotland in a friendly rivalry," said Welsh FA president Peter Rees.

And the chief executive of the the Northern Irish FA Howard Wells said he viewed the event as an opportunity to measure the progress of the countries at international level.

"It also gives fans a chance to see first class competition live, and within easy access," added Wells.

Scotland manager George Burley said he was looking forward to participating in the tournament and was certain Scots fans would contribute to a positive atmosphere in Ireland.

"We will have two games and that will be exciting. I am sure the people of the Republic will be looking forward to that and the Tartan Army will be out in force," said Burley.

"All these fixtures are never easy to fit into the calendar but these dates suit everyone at the minute.

"I'm sure we'll look at it and see how it goes and if it's a success for everyone then we can try and carry it on."

see also
Home international plans on cards
22 Jun 07 |  Internationals

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