The International Soccer Federation (FIFA) today in Zurich banned English professional soccer teams from playing anywhere except England because of the riot that left 38 dead at last week's European Cup final in Brussels.
The decision was announced at a press conference by FIFA Secretary General Joseph Blatter. It carried much further a similar ban imposed last weekend by the European Football Union (UEFA) in the wake of the Brussels riot, in which most of those who died were Italian fans fleeing rioting supporters of Britain's Liverpool club.
All English -- but not Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish -- pro teams will be excluded indefinitely from international competition, Blatter said.
He said the ban does not include the English national team, on tour in Mexico and a contender for a place in the finals of next year's World Cup, which also will take place in that country. Nor does it affect youth teams or other nonclub international competition.
"We shall have to see how they behave," he said. Hans Bangerter, secretary general of UEFA, earlier had said English teams could be banned from Europe for as long as 10 years.
In London, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher welcomed the ban, telling the House of Commons, "I think we fully understand why they have made it and I hope we shall be able to take steps which will restore our good name."
Meanwhile, Australian and touring soccer officials have made an urgent appeal to FIFA to allow English club Tottenham Hotspur to play in the final round of the $200,000 International Series in Melbourne Sunday.
FIFA sources said Joao Havelange of Brazil, the organization's president who is attending the meetings of the International Olympic Committee in East Berlin, first had considered banning England from the 1986 Cup, but decided against that.
In Mexico City tonight, the English national team lost to Italy, 2-1, in an exhibition match that drew about 10,000 fans to a 110,000-seat stadium.
"I hope from the bottom of my heart that fans did not stay away because of what happened in Brussels," Italian Coach Enzo Bearzot said.
Mounted police and a riot squad were on hand, but there was no violence. In an apparent effort to promote harmony, the teams entered the playing field in two lines, alternating players from the English and Italian national squads. The teams usually enter separately.