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YOU WON'T BE NEEDING THIS NACHO; McNACHO: THE DREAM IS DEAD SFA chief ends Novo hopes of playing for Scots.

Byline: By Gary Ralston & Craig Swan

GORDON SMITH last night denied undermining George Burley as the SFA shut the door on Nacho Novo's chances of playing for Scotland.

The Hampden chief executive confirmed the four home nations are sticking - for now - to their gentleman's agreement to cap only players with a bloodline to their country.

Smith revealed SFA bosses will also take legal advice to ensure they are not falling foul of race laws by refusing to entertain FIFA's five-year residency rule.

He refuted claims the integrity of the national boss has been compromised by the announcement which came just 48 hours after Burley declared he would be happy to consider players with no bloodline but who had a UK passport.

Smith said: "We've not undermined George at all, not in the least. All we've done is get more information on it, that an agreement exists between the associations. George didn't know that, this has all just been thrown at him.

"In recent days we've had a lot of opinion, now all we've done is clarify the situation." Rangers striker Novo has lived in Scotland for seven years and admitted he was interested in playing for Scotland, although he is not yet aUK passport holder.

The Spaniard refused to comment on the SFA's statement but is understood to be disappointed.

Asked if the bloodline policy of the home nations could be perceived as racist, Smith added: "Now we know the agreement's in place I'll check on that. We'll check it through to make sure that's not the case.

"There are two arguments, the other is the home associations are trying to keep it that their regulations are for people who are genuinely regarded as being from their country. We need to get that looked at, definitely."

Smith contacted the other home associations yesterday afternoon to check the status of their accord in the aftermath of the fall-out from Record Sport's exclusive on Novo's interest in on the dark blue.

The home nations agreed as recently as 2004 to stick to the bloodline principle but there have been changes in key personnel at the top of each of the associations since, apart from the Welsh FA

Smith added: "I was trying to establish if the agreement still stood and the feedback was, yes, it's still in place until it's superceded or thrown out. No one has gone outside the agreement since 2004.

"At some stage in the future one or more of us may change our opinion. We may get together, change our decision and go for the full FIFA regulation but at the moment we're all sticking to our agreement.

"There are no plans to meet to discuss this issue specifically but we're due to get together at an International Football Board meeting in February."

Opinion on McNacho has split the Tartan Army. West of Scotland spokesman Hamish Husband said: "A lot of fans want to restrict eligibility to having a Scots parent. Others say we should do anything to get to South A frica."


BRIT USELESS: Even with UK passport Novo couldn't play for Scotland as SFA stick to bloodline agreement; ARGUMENTS: SFA's Smith
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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