New 'Four Associations Cup' announced

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will compete in a new football tournament in 2011 called the Four Associations Cup.

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will compete in a new football tournament in 2011 called the Four Associations Cup.

It is planned that the event will be biennial with Dublin hosting the inaugural competition .

The format will be a league table system, with two matches to be played in February 2011 and a further four at the tail end of the domestic season, in May.

England have the option of joining at a later date.

"As there are limited international dates for opportunities to play nations from outside Europe, we like to use several dates to play teams from South America, Africa and Asia," explained a spokesperson for the English FA.

"We have played several fixtures against the home nations since 1999 and our preference is to play one-off games rather than a tournament - if they fit in with the manager's plans."