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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 16:08 UK

Birmingham City pull plug on summer tour of Tanzania

Alex McLeish
McLeish has been tasked with an immediate Premier League return

Birmingham City have decided to call off their proposed pre-season trip to play two matches in Tanzania.

Blues, who were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday, were due to travel to Africa in July for friendlies against Simba and Yanga.

However, organisers failed to meet the deadline set to confirm the arrangements for Alex McLeish's side.

The Carling Cup holders are now looking into other possible destinations to prepare for their Championship return.

A statement from Birmingham City read: "The club had set a deadline of Monday, 23 May for the organising parties to categorically give the necessary commitments on paper.

"As the formal contract for the trip was not entered into, the club regrettably had to pull out to consider other arrangements.

"Other pre-season destinations are being considered and details will be released as soon as possible."

Blues will also head overseas in August, when they play in the final qualifying round of the Europa League.

Simba, the Tanzanian club that originally invited Birmingham to East Africa, had earlier told the BBC that they were considering withdrawing the offer after earning an unexpected reprieve in Africa's Champions League competition.

Having been eliminated in the second round of the competition, Simba will now contest a one-off play-off with Morocco's Wydad Casablanca to determine who reaches the group stage.

Simba were originally beaten by TP Mazembe, the side which lost 2-0 to Inter in the final of the Fifa World Club Cup in 2010.

However, an appeal was lodged against the Congolese side for fielding an 'ineligible player', which African football's ruling body upheld.

Even if Simba fail to beat Wydad, they will drop into the Confederation Cup, African club football's second tier competition, which climaxes at the end of the year.

Mazembe, meanwhile, have lodged an appeal against their expulsion.



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