FAI refuse to confirm new Trapattoni deal


THE FOOTBALL Association of Ireland was neither confirming nor denying yesterday reports that Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni will sign a two-year extension to his contract as early as this week, one that will leave him in charge of the team for the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Last week the FAI’s board of management gave the go-ahead to chief executive John Delaney and chairman Paddy McCaul to open discussions with the Italian over a new contract.

Speaking at his press conference the day after the team qualified for Euro 2012, Trapattoni, having had preliminary talks with the association, anticipated these discussions being no more than “a formality”.

Delaney indicated much the same, but said that the issue would be parked for “a week or two”. That time frame, then, suggests that talks could take place this week, either in Dublin or Kiev, where Trapattoni is expected to travel for Friday’s Euro 2012 draw, which takes place at 5.30pm Irish time.

With the 72-year-old keen to lead Ireland in to the World Cup qualifying campaign and the FAI seemingly eager for him to remain in the post, the only subject up for discussion is the salary paid to Trapattoni, his assistant Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto Rossi.

“It’s not about money, unless they change completely the situation,” the manager said of the issue, the key question being, though, whether or not businessman Denis O’Brien would be willing to continue funding half his €1.7 million salary.

The FAI described as “speculation” reports that suggested O’Brien had already agreed to carry on contributing towards that salary and that it would only be cut to €1.5 million, with Tardelli and Rossi’s contracts taking the deal to €5 million for the management team over two years.

There had been talk earlier this year that Trapattoni would only be offered half his current pay, but that was before he led Ireland to their first major finals in 10 years.

The manager revealed earlier this month he had met O’Brien in Tallinn after Ireland’s 4-0 win in the first leg of the play-offs, saying no more of their encounter than “he is always kind”.

Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has been included in LA Galaxy’s squad for their “Asia Pacific Tour” which will see them play games in Jakarta, Manila and Melbourne.

Manager Bruce Arena will be without three first-choice players for the trip, all ruled out with injuries, but Keane, David Beckham and Landon Donovan are among those deemed fit enough to travel.

Keane, whose pass created the winning goal for Donovan in the MLS Cup final a week ago, had ruled out looking for a loan move back to Europe during the MLS off-season, insisting that a couple of months off during the close season would help “recharge my batteries . . . I think it could work in my favour building up to the Euros”.

Galaxy play the Indonesian national team on Wednesday, the Philippines on Saturday, before concluding their tour with a game against Melbourne Victory on Tuesday week.