Saturday 23 September 2017

Trap offers to take pay cut in return for new contract

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The FAI face a delicate decision after Giovanni Trapattoni reiterated his desire to lead Ireland to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and offered to take a pay cut in doing so.

The Italian's contract expires after next year's European Championships but Ireland still have a way to go before qualification is assured, and the association will be loath to hand a new deal to the 72-year-old before the success of the campaign is determined.

Reports have indicated that Trapattoni may be willing to take as much as 50pc off his €1.7m-a-year salary, but even €850,000 would represent a significant expense at Abbotstown where the debt from the Aviva Stadium continues to tighten the purse strings.

Half of the manager's salary is paid by businessman Denis O'Brien and his involvement could again be called for if Trapattoni is to continue in the role.

The FAI need only look at the experience of their fellow Lansdowne Road dwellers, the IRFU, who had their fingers burnt when they awarded Eddie O'Sullivan a four-year extension before the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which ended in disaster.

Lacklustre

The English FA suffered a similar fate when Fabio Capello was handed a new deal before last year's World Cup, which saw England crash out to Germany after a host of lacklustre performances.

Trapattoni has not escaped criticism in recent times. His continuing preference for watching players on DVD rather than in the flesh in England, the communications issues that dogged James McCarthy's international future and the poor display in the defeat to Russia in Dublin have raised concerns over his tenure.

The former Juventus boss has also had two health scares over the past year, one of which caused him to miss the friendly defeat to Argentina and the initial feeling had been that he would step aside at the end of the current campaign.

But his comments in the past week have created a dilemma for his employers, who cannot now use his expensive wages as an excuse for shelving the discussions.

"When the federation need help we have no problem in this moment," he said. "The situation is peculiar. We have slowly transformed this group of players. It is a very important moment, a time when they are 23, 24. At this age, they start maturing and growing.

"What is important is to continue and finish this job. It's up to the FAI to decide what they put value on, and if they're happy with this job. We have no problem in discussing (pay) because it's a social problem."

The ball is firmly in the FAI's court, but Il Capo may need to produce more positive results before they make their decision.

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