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Plans to resurrect the Home Internationals could founder because of a crowded fixture list, the English Football Association has warned.

Northern Ireland will raise the possibility at the next meeting of the four home associations.

But FA executive director David Davies told BBC Sport: "In principle, we have absolutely no objection.

"But the issue is where on earth we can sit games like that into the international calendar?"

The Scottish FA has also welcomed in principal the Irish Football Association's idea of a knockout competition involving England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

And the Republic of Ireland could even be invited to take part, should England decline.

Competitive games are of more attractive than friendlies

Scottish FA chief executive David Taylor
The Home International series saw the four nations that make up the UK play each other once a season in a league basis until it was scrapped in 1984.

Fixture congestion, a drop in public interest, fan violence and domination by England were arguments against the competition at the time.

"Some of us have tremendous memories of the Home International championships, especially some great games between Scotland and England," added Davies.

"But the practicalities of it are very difficult as there are fewer friendly dates than ever before.

"And this season we are not playing on 4 and 8 June as we wanted - to give our players a decent summer break."

Scottish FA chief executive David Taylor thought that bringing England on board would be the biggest hurdle.

"The basic principal is that competitive games are of more attractive than friendlies, so this would be of interest," he said.

"Circumstances have changed from 20 years ago but the key to this is England.

"It would be a shame if the world's oldest international fixture, between Scotland and England, could not be played again." This mini tournament will not help improve the standard of football played by any of the nations

From ML
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Northern Ireland's new football chief executive, Howard Wells, met Taylor at the Under-21 international between their countries in Belfast on Tuesday.

They had been due to meet at full international level but new Scotland manager Walter Smith instead decided to hold a relaxed get-together with his squad.

Wells has more talks scheduled with Davies and hopes to raise the matter at the next meeting of the four home countries on 27 February.

"I hope there is going to be an open mind about it," Wells told The Herald newspaper.

"It would be hugely interesting to sponsors."

He admits that England are the main obstacle.

"They've got more pressure from clubs in terms of fixture congestion," Wells admitted.

"That's always a problem and a bit of a whinge I think in the English game.

"That's not to say we couldn't discuss things.

"I'm conscious of the fact standards have dropped in some of those countries and the more we can do to promote competition the better."
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

They could easily do it every two years, at a time when there is no European Championships or World Cups and it would make English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish look forward to every summer knowing there will be a competative tournament.

Especially with Wales and their Millenium Stadium and when the new Wembley is built.

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Yeah get rid of those silly friendlies we engage in just for Footballing politics, and start serving us up games we will make time to stop and watch.

England v Scotland, oh yeah :)

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Balis-of-Steel said:
Yeah get rid of those silly friendlies we engage in just for Footballing politics, and start serving us up games we will make time to stop and watch.
Exactly! A fixture with something to play for and everything to lose. Friendlies are a waste of time when we have half decent opposition on our doorstep (and the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish I suppose!)

I'd rather that in the summer and no constant interruptions for midweek kickabouts against opposition who are either not good enough or good enough but not really bothered. Of course it wouldn't stop the overseas players fooking off halfway across the world to play a meaningless friendly but at least we'd see a competitive match not the usual dross
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