Russian roulette may decide Trap future
GIOVANNI Trapattoni's future looks set to be decided in Moscow tomorrow night amid fresh speculation about the manager's position as his contract draws to a close.
The FAI board are keen to retain the services of the 72-year-old if Ireland make a Euro 2012 play-off, a target that would be difficult to achieve if Russia take full points on home soil. However, in light of the association's well-documented financial concerns, Trapattoni would have to accept a third pay cut, with suggestions he could face up to a 50pc reduction in his €1.7m-a-year deal.
Assistant boss Marco Tardelli said John Delaney mentioned nothing of the sort when the FAI chief executive discussed the contract issue with the management team earlier in the week. An FAI spokesman said it was an informal chat in the team hotel rather than a scheduled meeting.
"I spoke with John Delaney two or three days ago and he never told me about this," said a puzzled Tardelli. "For me, it's speculation. Also, two years ago, we took a cut in our contracts."
So, would it be a problem to take a pay cut? "Not too much," replied Tardelli, with a smile. A 50pc cut? "Maybe I don't understand well in English, but John Delaney didn't talk to me about that," replied the World Cup winner. "Many times, we speak with John and the board decide to continue or not. You know our idea, we want to stay on."
Certainly, Trapattoni has made no secret of his desire to stay on, and the FAI -- who pay half his wages, with businessman Denis O'Brien taking care of the rest -- would like to keep the Italian regime in place if Ireland enjoy a strong finish to this Euro 2012 campaign.
Nevertheless, there is a school of thought that believes qualification should be the minimum requirement for securing a new deal.
The outlay on Trapattoni was designed to end a major tournament drought stretching back to 2002 and, while Ireland were deeply unlucky to miss out on the World Cup after the infamous night in Paris, they have work to do to even make a European Championship play-off following Friday's deflating draw with Slovakia.
An unlikely win in Moscow would put Ireland top of the group with two games remaining, while a draw would give them a fair shout of making a play-off.
Defeat would spell trouble for Trapattoni, although if the price of a new contract is a substantial drop in earnings, he may begin to question the extent of the desire to keep him in charge.