Hoddle on the defensive as his support runs out

GLENN HODDLE faces his own day of reckoning today with an announcement about whether he will be sacked as England manager over disputed comments that disabled people are being punished for sins committed in previous lives.

After a day of confusion, claim, counter-claim and high- profile denials, Hoddle is due to meet the Football Association (FA) this morning to put his side of the story. Already he has refused to resign, while Tony Blair has lined up behind growing numbers demanding he should go.

The high-level coterie of five FA members who will make the final decision were yesterday conferring over the phone.

Meanwhile, the man at the centre of the storm launched his counter-offensive on television. Interviewed by Trevor McDonald for ITN, he denied that he had ever made the controversial comments.

"The only reason people are saying I should resign is that they are saying I have come out and said that people disabled and handicapped have been paying for their sins, and I have never, ever said that," said Hoddle.

"I did not say them things and at the end of the day I want to put that on record because it has hurt people," he added. "That is the last thing I want to do, and the most important thing is to tell people that and that is more important than any football job."

This went significantly further than other comments since the row blew up on Saturday after an interview published in The Times.

Hoddle was reported as saying: "You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains. Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. I have nothing to hide about that. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow, you have to reap."

Previously, Hoddle had only said that his comments had been "misconstrued, misunderstood and misinterpreted" by the reporter.

Peter Stothard, editor of The Times, last night hit back, saying the paper stood by its story. "The remarks made by Glenn Hoddle to our reporter, Matt Dickinson, are clearly recorded in his notebook and they reflect comments made by Glenn Hoddle in other circumstances. I am amazed and appalled at Mr Hoddle's attempts at a denial."

The Prime Minister told ITV's This Morning programme that if Hoddle's views had been correctly recorded then it "would be very difficult for him to stay".

David Davies, acting chief executive of the FA, said that no announcement on Hoddle's future would be made until this morning at the earliest. He said that a definitive statement would be made at lunchtime.

Hoddle's fate will be decided by five members of the FA's International Committee. The situation was not helped for the FA, or for Hoddle, by the recent departure of its chairman and chief executive over an unauthorised pounds 3m loan to the Welsh FA. They were two of Hoddle's staunchest supporters.

The final decision could also be affected by the manoeuvring going on for the top job at the FA. Geoff Thompson, the acting chairman from Chesterfield, will lead the panel. He will by joined by Noel White, the committee chairman from Liverpool; David Davies; David Richards, the Sheffield Wednesday chairman; and David Sheepshanks, chairman of Ipswich.

The fact that the FA has started to take a pro-active stance on sport for the disabled is bound to be a factor in their thinking. If they need any encouragement, the universal condemnation from groups representing disabled people will provide it.

Neil Betteridge, projectsmanager for the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, was typically blunt. He said Hoddle was not fit to be the national coach. "Our view is that we don't believe it is acceptable for someone in his position to make remarks that are so grossly offensive to disabled people," he said.

One voice of support came from Eileen Drewery, the spiritual "healer" said by Hoddle to have given him many of his controversial views. Ms Drewery, whose husband is disabled, said she believed Hoddle had been treated "worse than Saddam Hussein".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links