Eriksson will join Rovers next summer

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The Independent Online
Sven Goran Eriksson has committed himself to taking charge at Blackburn next summer, even if Rovers lose their Premiership place in May.

Blackburn's chairman, Robert Coar, confirmed yesterday that Eriksson's three-year contract was "unconditional" and that he would be the next Rovers manager come what may. The Swede's commitment will avoid the possibility of the caretaker manager, Tony Parkes, presiding over the club's relegation and then finding himself in line for the caretaker manager's job.

Parkes, admitting that he faces a "long hard season", added: "We are all relieved the managerial situation has been resolved, but there is a lot of work ahead between now and when the new man comes in.

"I have said all along that I didn't want the job on a permanent basis, but it now looks like I could be the longest serving caretaker in history!"

Eriksson has admitted he is "pleased and honoured" at being named Blackburn's manager. He will not be giving any interviews about the job, but he will be able to work with Parkes, as Rovers seek out new players.

Coar said: "We can now look to transfer matters and it is fair to assume that any deals will be done in consultation with the new manager. Players throughout the football world will now be able to see our long-term objectives and know who they will be playing for."

It is still possible that Eriksson's Italian club, Sampdoria, will agree to release him from his contract before the end of the season. However, they would have to find a replacement for the 48-year-old Swede, who has an impressive pedigree having managed Gothenburg, Benfica twice, Roma and Fiorentina. He is in his fifth year at Sampdoria.

Eriksson, who is widely regarded a tactically astute coach, faces a dramatic change of lifestyle when he leaves the Mediterranean behind him and heads to the north-west of England. No details of his contract have been revealed, but it is believed he will be the highest paid manager in Blackburn's history.

Arsenal's David Platt, who played for two seasons under Eriksson at Sampdoria, said: "He has already proved himself to be a coach of the very highest calibre in Sweden, Italy and Portugal and I am certain he will have a really positive impact at Blackburn. The Rovers players will enjoy his training methods and will respect his exceptional tactical awareness."

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The consortium headed by the local businessman Sandy Anderson bidding to take control of Nottingham Forest says an offer to join forces with the rival group led by the Monte Carlo-based millionaire Lawrie Lewis has been rejected. Anderson thought linking with Lewis would help "the long-term success and well being of the club" but said the offer drew a cool response. The Lewis consortium, which also contains the former Tottenham chairman Irving Scholar, is the favourite to take over.

The speed with which Avon and Somerset Police submit reports on the crowd trouble at Ashton Gate will determine how long Bristol City and Bristol Rovers have to wait to see what action they face from the Football Association over the crowd disturbance at the end of their Second Division encounter on Sunday.

n George Weah, Milan's Liberian striker who has just won Fifa's Fair Play Award, has had a one-match ban for head-butting Porto's Jorge Costa after a European Champions' League match, extended to six games.

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