Soccer Fixture Talks Break Down

Israel Football Association chairman Itche Menahem and incoming Israel coach Dror Kashtan returned empty-handed from Croatia yesterday after talks to determine the fixture schedule for Euro 2008 qualifying Group E broke down.

Moshe Boker
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Moshe Boker

Israel Football Association chairman Itche Menahem and incoming Israel coach Dror Kashtan returned empty-handed from Croatia yesterday after talks to determine the fixture schedule for Euro 2008 qualifying Group E broke down.

European soccer's governing body UEFA had announced that a draw to determine when the matches will be played would take place in Switzerland next Thursday, but the English FA later proposed another round of talks in Geneva next Friday and a decision on the request is pending from UEFA.

"We are going to ask UEFA to delay the drawing of lots for 24 hours, to try and find a way to resolve this, and if we can find a resolution, then it won't go to drawing of lots," said a spokesman for the English FA. Israel's opponents in its qualifying group are England, Croatia, Russia, Estonia, Macedonia and Andorra.

Most of the teams reached agreements on scheduling, but Russian insistence on hosting Israel and England during the harsh Russian winter led to a break down in the talks. Unilateral agreement between all the teams is required, otherwise under UEFA rules the schedule is determined by a draw.

"We are sorry that an agreement has not been reached despite our efforts, so the representatives of all seven countries will meet on March 2 for a draw," Croatian FA secretary general Zorislav Srebric told reporters before the English proposal was raised.

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