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By ESPN Staff
Jul 4, 2006

Greece suspension has England seeking alternatives

England are looking at alternative opponents because next month's friendly against Greece is under threat.

Greece were suspended from all football yesterday as a long-running row between FIFA and the Greek government came to a head.

The ban has cast serious doubt over England's fixture with the European champions at Old Trafford on August 16.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is hopeful that the dispute with Greece will be resolved before the start of the new season.

But, with the game only six weeks away, the Football Association are understood to be considering their options.

Many countries who wanted a game on the first international date of the season have already arranged their fixtures.

And some Premiership managers will be hoping the Greece game falls through and no opponents can be found.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has already complained about international games being played, three days before the first games of the Premiership season.

But some countries have already expressed an interest in stepping in to replace Greece and take on England in Steve McClaren's first match in charge.

The Greek situation is totally out of the England's control and the FA's director of communications Adrian Bevington said talks had been opened with FIFA on the subject.

Bevington said: 'I can confirm we have spoken to FIFA and are awaiting further guidance from them as to the status of our fixture with Greece.'

FIFA president Blatter claims the root of the row is a 'clash of personalities'.

It was a reference to the Greek sports minister and the head of the Greek FA.

At the moment, Greek law states that the sports minister has power to over-rule the FA on football matters but FIFA want this changed so the Greek FA can work independently.

FIFA's deadline for compliance is July 18 but Blatter has raised the issue now in a bid to force it onto the agenda in the Greek Parliament.

Blatter said: 'This is an alarm call for the Greek government and I am sure it will be listened to because this is more about a clash of personalities than anything else.

'Suspension means they are banned from all international activities and that includes European club competitions like the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

'All financial support is immediately stopped.'