GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI'S latest health scare has effectively confirmed that he will leave his post as Ireland manager when the interest in Euro 2012 ends.
FAI chief executive John Delaney has refused to rule out the possibility that the association would seek to extend the Italian's contract if all parties were satisfied.
However, a second spell in hospital in the space of six months for the 71-year-old has raised further concerns about his well-being.
While the FAI are confident that Trapattoni will make a full recovery from the after-effects of neck surgery, it is now considered unlikely that they could sanction the extension of his estimated €1.7m-a-year deal when this campaign comes to a close.
FAI sources already believe it is quite likely that the veteran manager will look for a new challenge when his initial four-year contract expires.
It means that the FAI could be on the hunt for a new boss by the end of this year. Ex-assistant Liam Brady has gone on record to state that current No 2 Marco Tardelli should take the reins when Trapattoni steps aside.
Trapattoni yesterday denied reports from Italy which said that he had suffered a stroke during an operation on his carotid artery in Milan last week.
"I am recovering well and expect to return to work in the coming weeks," he said.
He is expected in Dublin on January 24 to name his squad for the February 8 Carling Cup clash with Wales, but must first get the all-clear from his surgeon to travel.