Football: Hoddle pay rise 'linked to results'

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GLENN HODDLE has agreed a salary increase linked to England's performances in Euro 2000, it was revealed yesterday. Hoddle started pre- planned negotiations with the Football Association about a salary increase several weeks ago, but talks were put on hold while he took charge of the side for the two Euro 2000 qualifying games last month.

The pressure on Hoddle has increased since then, following the goalless draw against Bulgaria and the much-criticised performance in the 3-0 victory against the part-timers of Luxembourg. However, despite earlier indications that concerns had been expressed by some members of the FA International Committee about Hoddle's World Cup diary and his use of the faith healer Eileen Drewery, his employers have nevertheless reaffirmed their support for him.

No official figures regarding the new contract have been released but earlier reports indicated that Hoddle, whose present salary is estimated to be pounds 250,000 a year, could be in line for a rise of up to pounds 100,000 - an increase of 40 per cent.

The FA have stemmed any possible criticism of giving an under-fire coach such a rise by making the majority of the increase - possibly as much as three-quarters - dependent upon results. An FA statement said: "It was confirmed this morning that agreement has been reached between the England coach and the FA following a scheduled review of his contract. Most of his new financial package is related to success in Euro 2000. He has been promised new financial rewards the further England progress in the European Championships. His first priority is qualification for the finals. Then he will be seeking England's first major tournament triumph since 1966."

Perhaps more crucially for Hoddle, the FA chief executive, Graham Kelly, then sought to end speculation that the England coach's position was in any threat. Kelly, who had earlier this month said that he understood the "sensitivities" of offering Hoddle a pay rise designed to put him more in line with other international coaches, declared: "It's time for everybody to get behind Glenn and the England players. Nobody pretends that recent results have been everything we had hoped for. But we have a real chance of success in Euro 2000 and with Glenn, everybody at the FA believes we can achieve that success."

England, meanwhile, are close to agreeing a mouthwatering friendly against the world champions, France, at Wembley in February. Hoddle's side do not return to competitive action until their next qualifying game at home to Poland on 27 March.

A home friendly against the Czech Republic, replacing the original tie against Yugoslavia which was cancelled because of the situation in Kosovo, has already been arranged for 18 November. Now talks are close to being finalised to bring the French to Wembley on 10 February for England to pit themselves against the World Cup winners.

The FA director of public affairs, David Davies, said: "We are hoping for permission for the game to go ahead to be received in the next few days."

England last played France in Le Tournoi competition in June last year, when they emerged as 1-0 victors in Montpellier. France lost 2-0 on their last appearance at Wembley, in June 1992.