Sky Blues in T&T row
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Coventry City have asked both Fifa and The FA to assist them in their row with T&T.
Coventry City have asked both Fifa and The Football Association to assist them in their row with Trinidad & Tobago.
The Sky Blues had a written request to have midfielder Chris Birchall (pictured) and striker Stern John return to the Championship club after Saturday's friendly with Concacaf rivals Nicaragua rejected by the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
The Ricoh Arena club want both Birchall and John to miss next Wednesday's other friendly with Panama, so the pair are available for the October 13 league clash at Southend United.
Coventry feel aggrieved at the TTFF's decision, with Championship rivals Sunderland having been allowed permission to bring back Dwight Yorke after the Nicaragua match.
"Coventry City initially requested that both players be excused from the two friendlies when the call-up papers were received, as the games were of a non-competitive nature," said Sky Blues finance director Mal Brannigan.
"This was rejected and so Coventry, aware that for friendly matches the players only have to be released 48 hours before the date, offered to release the players on October 2, so that they could return to the club on October 8.
"This meant that Stern and Chris would be available to Trinidad & Tobago for longer than the 48-hour rule and that Coventry City would have the players available and refreshed for its game on Friday, October 13.
"The club is still to receive any response from the TTFF with regard to this request and has now enlisted the help of The FA to resolve the situation.
"The TTFF brought the matter to Fifa's attention and so Fifa are also being kept within the correspondence loop by both Coventry City and The FA."
The club-versus-country row with the Caribbean nation is not just restricted to Coventry, as T&T have struggled to get the release of three other British-based players for the upcoming games.
The TTFF have written to request the release of Swansea City defender Dennis Lawrence, Dundee United striker Collin Samuel and Walsall goalkeeper Clayton Ince for the two friendlies.
Meanwhile, Coventry goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh has left The Ricoh Arena to succeed Eric Steele as goalkeeping coach at Premiership side Aston Villa.
McDonagh used to work with Villa boss Martin O'Neill at Leicester City and has taken the opportunity to team up with him again.