ENGLAND’S Euro 2016 hopes have been rocked by news scoring sensation Jamie Vardy faces being banned from the tournament.
Rivals Germany, whom Vardy scored against in last week’s friendly, have unearthed a little-known rule that prevents players who have competed at non-league level from representing their country in major finals.
The rule was introduced to encourage football federations such as the FA to press top clubs to produce academy kids rather than sign them from lowly outfits.
It’s thought Germany have known about the clause for months but only flagged it up after Vardy’s wonder goal against them was followed by another strike against Holland.
Vardy is 1-16 with bet365 to be in the England Euro 2016 squad and 6-4 to start the opening game against Russia.
Bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth said: ” I can assure punters if Vardy is ruled out because of his non-league past we’ll refund all antepost bets placed on him.”
An FA spokesman said: “This is a fool-hardy move. We want Vardy involved and will appeal against any sanctions imposed.
“This ruling doesn’t affect anyone else likely to be chosen. Northern Ireland new boy Conor Washington turned out for St Ives Town but no one has protested because he’s not that good.
“Our other concern is Fraser Forster played for Celtic and there might be a problem there if the Scottish League is deemed to be a lower standard than the Conference.”
Spokesman for the SFA, Olf O’Prail, said: “We think Forster will be OK. Celtic sometimes defend like a non-league club but in reality they are not one.
“Also we’d encourage players who make it in the game after playing non-league to commit their allegiance to Scotland. We never qualify for tournaments so no one would be banned from finals.”
Vardy played for non-league Halifax and Fleetwood before signing for Leicester. Current Fleetwood boss Steven “Elvis” Pressley said: “It’s disappointing a former Town player won’t be representing England but we have a ready-made replacement in Shola Ameobi.”
England boss Hodgson said: “I met Elvis down the chip shop. They had no brown sauce.”
When quizzed about Vardy’s potential exclusion Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said: “I will console him with a slice of pizza. And if Italy win Euro 2016 we will wash it down with champagne and everything will be all right.”