Wednesday 26 July 2017

Trapattoni ups the ante with threat to walk away

DION FANNING

Giovanni Trapattoni has suggested he could quit as Ireland manager before the European Championships, even if Ireland qualify by beating Estonia in next month's play-off.

"After we qualify, we can also say our job is done, thank you very much, thank you," Trapattoni claimed last week.

Trapattoni's contract expires on the last day of April next year and while qualification would automatically trigger an extension until the end of the European Championships, the Italian has raised the possibility of leaving before then. "We can either qualify and go to the tournament and we fulfil the option or qualify and say okay, if there is no extension our job is done."

Trapattoni remains keen to secure a new contract that would give him the possibility of leading Ireland to the World Cup in Brazil but the delay in beginning discussions is clearly leading to frustration in the Italian's camp.

The FAI's chief executive John Delaney stated last week that there would be no discussions with Trapattoni over a new contract until after next month's play-off. It had previously been speculated that if Ireland reached the play-off discussions would take place.

The FAI don't want to commit to a new contract before the Estonia games in case Ireland are defeated and they are left with a manager who has failed and committed to a style of football which can only be justified by success.

"It's always good to hear a manager say he'd like to stay," Delaney said on Thursday. "But any discussions about a contract really should be left until post these matches. I would like to think everyone would be able to concentrate fully on getting us qualified against Estonia. It's only four and a half weeks away and there's going to be a huge build-up to these games, a lot of focus and a lot of discussion, and the most important is that it's about football."

The assumption that if Ireland qualify, Trapattoni will be automatically rewarded with a contract extension to take him into the World Cup qualifiers is also wide of the mark as it emerged last night that both sides consider it possible that no new contract could be agreed, even if Ireland qualify.

"Yes, I could go to the Euros without a new contract," Trapattoni said. "This is not what I wish but it is a possibility."

If Ireland qualify, his contract would extend to the end of the tournament. If they lose to Estonia, he will be paid up for the remainder of his contract but the FAI wouldn't appoint a successor until May next year at the earliest which would save money.

The FAI are relaxed about Trapattoni's claim that he could quit as soon as next month, considering it extremely unlikely that the manager would walk out if Ireland overcome Estonia.

There is now also a real possibility that Trapattoni's time as Ireland manager could end at the European Championships next summer.

With finances extremely tight, even in the event of qualification, the FAI are likely to ask Trapattoni to take a significant wage cut, possibly still up to 50 per cent.

While Denis O'Brien could still be expected to provide assistance in paying the salary of Trapattoni or another top manager, the uncertainty over his position has also led to a delay in beginning negotiations.

Having lobbied for a contract since the end of last season, Trapattoni will have expected to be rewarded for qualification and the delays in opening discussions has led the manager to make his threat to walk away.

Trapattoni has stated that he has other options but the FAI believe Ireland offer him the best chance of taking a team to Brazil.

The FAI wanted to remove all speculation about a contract until after the play-off but the future of the manager may now overshadow a game which gives Ireland their best chance of reaching a tournament in ten years.

Sunday Indo Sport

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