Manchester United may not be able to host World Cup matches if the tournament is held in England – as some of Old Trafford’s facilities are not up to scratch.
The news will come as shock to many football fans, with United’s stadium long having been regarded as one of the finest in England.
Old Trafford has, of course, staged England matches many times in the past, along with huge matches such the Champions League final, while the stadium regularly hosted FA Cup semi-finals before they were held at Wembley.
But United’s press box, mixed zone and media lounge all fail to meet FIFA’s current requirements, and the dressing rooms are too small, according to the Mail .
United have dismissed concerns, saying the club would work with FIFA to adapt facilities to ensure it could hold the games.
A statement pointed to the stadium’s track record of hosting big events such as Euro 96 games, and the fact that it was part of England’s bid to stage the 2018/2022 World Cups.
Media lounges must hold 800 for World Cup group games and 2,000 for the final – though few stadiums are able to do so.
United made their away dressing room smaller last year after a tunnel scuffle with Manchester City players. Old Trafford also cannot currently accommodate the 35 required broadcast cameras.
Old Trafford was last renovated in 2006 when second tiers were added to the north-west and north-east corners of the ground to increase the capacity to 74,879 seats.
A statement from Manchester United said: “Old Trafford was part of the England World Cup 2018/22 bid and will host Rugby League World Cup games in 2021.
“As with previous large scale events – Euro 96, 2003 Champions League final, 2012 Olympic games – and in common with many club stadia that host major international tournament games, we would work with FIFA to adapt existing facilities if required.”