The news came in the wake of an announcement by Manchester City cuckold Wayne Bridge that he would not be making himself available for England selection following the sex scandal involving former England teammate John Terry.
Bridge's withdrawal comes on top of a number of other key players becoming unavailable:
- Ashley Cole is unavailable following a broken ankle;
- Rio Ferdinand has a back problem;
- John Terry has a date with Fabio Capello's wife;
- David Beckham will be tied up with his hairdresser for the duration of the World Cup.
Further squad problems are expected as well, with Steven Gerrard awaiting sentencing, Michael Owen suffering from a zimmer strain and administrative problems getting Wayne Rooney to Africa because of Animal Transportation legislation.
A spokesman for Fabio Capello admitted that the lack of available players was 'a serious crisis' in the approach to the World Cup, but insisted that Capello's radical new selection approach would ensure England had an adequate squad to take to Johannesburg.
Under the new scheme, selection will be made by way of 22 'Golden Tickets' hidden in items commonly purchased by football fans, including six-packs of Stella, packets of Durex and Sky Sports mailings. Finders of the tickets will then be subject to an exhaustive selection process and, if they have a British passport and have played at least one game of five-a-side since primary school, will be given a place in the squad.
Sources within the Football Association defended the scheme, pointing out that it couldn't lead to performances any worse than those of an official England team in the last 34 years.