Eurosport - Wed, 30 Jun 13:43:00 2010
Out of Africa and out of the World Cup finals, but England's pilloried players continue to suffer early exits.
A major football skills show due to be broadcast live on ITV on July 17, a week after the World Cup final, has been cancelled due to the unexpected withdrawal of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard from the event.
The A3:K football skills show was to be hosted by the 02 Arena in London. Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba, David Villa and Cristiano Ronaldo were the among the other headline acts from the football world, but has been postponed for a year at the behest of the England duo.
Speaking in the Daily Mail, Terry Byrne, director of A3:K, said that Gerrard and Rooney had felt the timing of the event would be inappropriate after England suffered their heaviest defeat at the World Cup finals in losing 4-1 to Germany in the South African city of Bloemfontein.
"We fully understand and respect both players' decisions. We could have replaced them with two other players but feel the players involved are six of the best in the world - and that is what we promised to deliver," said Byrne.
"Everyone agreed the only decision possible was to postpone the event until next summer when we intend to deliver the same six player line-up."
Customers will apparently be entitled to a refund or can keep the tickets for next summer's rescheduled event.