Football: Hoddle lands a winning pay deal

WITH AN unusually adroit piece of negotiation the Football Association satisfied both Glenn Hoddle and most of his critics at the weekend when they agreed a performance-related pay rise for the England coach.

The deal could lift Hoddle's salary to a reputed pounds 350,000, a 40 per cent increase, but only if England both reach the 2000 European Championship finals and prosper when they arrive.

Should England fail to reach the finals, to be held in Belgium and Holland, Hoddle is unlikely to even get pounds 300,000, or to be given an extension to the four-year contract he signed in 1996.

The rise may seem generous given England's early exit from the World Cup and poor start to Euro 2000 but it still leaves Hoddle way behind leading club managers. It is also less than he was offered, in connection with a new long-term deal, immediately after the finals.

The decision, which follows several weeks of negotiations, represents a compromise between Hoddle's supporters and detractors on the International Committee. While the FA are not in the habit of sacking managers, there is disquiet over the team's recent performance, and off-field distractions such as Hoddle's ill-judged World Cup diary and his promotion of Eileen Drewery, the faith healer. There is no indication of `strings' being attached to the deal regarding either Hoddle's private commercial activity, which can significantly increase his basic salary, or Drewery's role. However, he may be more cautious in future.

In Hoddle's favour is that there are few obvious alternatives. The most credible candidates, Roy Hodgson, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, are all likely to ask for a substantially higher salary (in line with their current earnings) even if they could be persuaded to take the job. Hoddle has also showed signs, especially before the World Cup, of being the right choice and could yet revive the team's fortune.

He now has nearly five months to do so - England's next competitive match is at home to Poland on March 27. Before then England play a confirmed friendly against the Czech Republic at Wembley on November 18 and hope to meet France, the World champions, at Wembley on February 10.

"I'm glad to be able to get on with the job of winning for England," said Hoddle. "It is a great honour for me to coach the national team. I know how much it means to the country that we are successful. Nobody is more determined to achieve that success than I am."

Graham Kelly, the chief executive of the FA, said: "Nobody pretends that recent results have been everything we have hoped for, but we have a real chance of success in Euro 2000. Everybody at the FA believes we can achieve that success with Glenn."

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