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Football News - Managerial Musical Chairs 20/7/02
Santini Lands French Job
Jacques Santini, has been chosen by the French Football Association to rebuild the French national side after the team's humiliating first round exit at the World Cup, where they failed to win a game or even score. The 50-year old former Olympique Lyon coach, who spent most of his playing career with St. Etienne, has been chosen to revive the fortunes of 'Les Bleus' following the tenure of Roger Lemerre.
Santini was chosen by FFA President Claude Simonet ahead of youth team coach,
Raymond Domenech, Lemerre's assistant coach, Rene Girard and former Japan
boss, Philippe Troussier.
The Korean Football Association appears in no rush to appoint a successor
to previous coach and new national hero, Guus Hiddink. Various names have
been mentioned in connection with the post, including ex-France coach, Roger
Lemerre and even David O'Leary recently sacked as manager of English Premiership
club, Leeds United. However, with Hiddink supposedly staying on in an advisory
capacity it seems likely the KFA could continue the Orange revolution by
appointing another Dutchman to the job. Frank Rijkaard, who left Sparta
Rotterdam in May after the club's relegation from the First Division is
the early favourite, though former team-mate Ruud Gullit, recently linked
with the Nigeria job is another possibility.
Crisis in Italy
The Federal Council of Italian Football has decided to block Italian clubs from signing players from non-EU countries after 31st August 2002 in an attempt to pull Italian national and club football out of its current slump. This follows the endorsement of a new immigration statute in the country.
The Italian game is currently suffering from a prolonged decline both on and off the field. Juventus were the last Italian side to lift the European Champions Cup in 1996 and a recent survey published in Italy reveals that Serie A clubs have a combined operating loss of US$706.2 million for the 2000-2001 season, with the total loss for Italyăs four professional leagues standing at a little over a billion dollars.
Over-spending on player's transfer fees and wages seems to have triggered the crisis. Clubs such as Milan and Lazio spend over 80% of their annual turnover on players' salaries and this year the close season has been marked by a distinct lack of transfer activity as clubs look for free transfers and swap deals instead of the usual big-money new signings.
Three stars at Inter Milan - Alvaro Recoba, Christian Vieri and Ronaldo, even volunteered to take a 10% pay cut on their multi-million dollar salaries to help out the club in its hour of financial need.
The forthcoming Serie A season may well be delayed one month to enable clubs
to sort out their finances and deal in the new non-cash transfer market.
'Trapped': Italy Stick with Trappatoni
The Italian Football Federation, as expected, decided to retain the services of
manager Giovanni Trappatoni, previously one of the most successful managers
in Italian club football, despite Italy's early World Cup exit and defeats
to South Korea and Croatia.
FIFA Wins Big
In a press conference, Mohamed Bin-Hammam, the president of the Asian Football
Confederation, said that Asia is pushing for five qualifying places in the
2006 World Cup in Germany. He cited the achievements by the South Korean
and Japanese national teams as evidence of new levels of technique and organisation
Among other sweet words for FIFA president Sepp Blatter, he said that FIFA
had made US$500 million in profits four years ago in France, compared to
US$4.4 billion in the Korea/Japan World Cup and that only the absence of
some organisational expertise prevented FIFA from having even higher profits.
CONCACAF Wants 4th World Cup Berth
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football Associations wants an additional place at the 2006 World Cup.
President Jack Warner, a staunch ally of FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes the performance of CONCACAFăs three representatives in Korea/Japan - the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica - has earned the confederation the extra spot at the next World Cup following FIFAăs decision not to give an automatic place to the reigning champions.
'It is only right and proper that we should be able to send our best four
because who in the world can argue that our best three teams did not stand
up to the best the other confederations had to offer?' said Warner.
Lothar Mathaus: Hungary For Success?
Lothar Matthaus was reported in Bild newspaper to have met with Hungarian officials with a view to taking over as manager of the Hungarian national team from incumbent Imre Gellei.
The former German World Cup star hardly comes with a glowing managerial
CV having lead Rapid Vienna to their lowest position ever in the Austrian
league before being fired after less than a year in the job.
One In Every Four Is Chinese
Everton Football Club have signed a second Chinese player only 24 hours after signing their first. Midfielder Li Tie will join compatriot defender Li Weifeng on Merseyside. Everton have also signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Kejian.
Club chairman Philip Carter said. 'We are absolutely delighted to be entering into this arrangement with a company which shares our belief in the virtues of professionalism and progressive thinking.'
Everton plan to accept two Chinese players into the clubăs youth academy in each of the next two seasons and send coaches to China to raise the level of the game there.
Everton Manager David Moyes has said he is not guaranteeing starting places in the first team for the two Chinese signings, who both appeared at the World Cup and join their compatriots Sun Jihai (Manchester City) and Fan Zhiyi (Dundee) in British football.
Everton in their quest for world domination are also chasing 23-year-old Egyptian international sweeper Ibrahim Saeed and Turkeyăs goalkeeper Rustu Recber. The choice of a sweeper is interesting; other Premier League clubs will be sitting up and taking notice of this bold tactical move.
Meanwhile, back in China, former Saudi Arabia coach Antonio Lopes has been
invited to take over as coach of the Chinese team from Bora Milutinovic.
Suzuki Genk Deal Confirmed
Takayuki Suzuki, the Japanese World Cup striker, who scored against Belgium in the two team's 2-2 group match draw, has moved to Belgian league side, Genk and could be playing Champions League football next season.
The 26-year-old former Kashima Antlers forward and ex-Japan coach Philip Troussier discovery said, 'I'm delighted to be able to have the experience of playing abroad'.
Suzuki has signed a one year loan deal with the option of a three-year contract.
Japan's First Test for Zico
Japan's first test under the new Zico regime will come in a friendly international
at home to Argentina on 20th November at Tokyo National Stadium.
Zico is planning to dispense with previous coach, Philippe Troussier's three-man defence and play a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Masakuni Yamamoto has been appointed as coach of Japan's Olympic team and
will work closely with Zico. Previous manager Philippe Troussier had the
job of looking after both Japan's national squads, a job description the
new man, Zico was unwilling to accept.
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