Football: Venables' job for Wales in doubt

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The Independent Online
TERRY VENABLES' appointment as the new coach of Wales is in doubt after an internal row over his pounds 150,000-a-year deal.

The former England coach was offered the post by a Football Association of Welsh sub-committee, which sought his appointment after Bobby Gould's departure. However, the full council of the FA are concerned about the size of the agreement. The total bill will increase with expenses and possible additional staff payments.

The salary is low for a coach of Venables' stature but it still represents a hefty rise on Gould's salary, which was around pounds 57,000 a year. The FAW has little money and there will be some internal debate before a decision is made today.

The former Blackburn manager, Roy Hodgson, was named coach of Grasshopper Zurich yesterday following the dismissal of Roger Hegi. Hodgson is still regarded as a hero in Switzerland for taking the country to the 1994 World Cup finals and the 1996 European Championship finals in England. He also coached Neuchatel Xamax from 1990 to 1992.

Grasshopper are Switzerland's most successful club with 25 league and 18 cup titles, but they sacked Hegi after a 2-0 defeat by newly promoted Yverdon on Saturday to drop to fourth in the league. Hodgson has been out of work since he left Blackburn Rovers last November and had a brief four-game stint with Internazionale at the end of last season.

Hodgson, who turns 52 next Monday, has been linked with numerous coaching vacancies and was Soccer Australia's leading candidate to take over from Venables. He built his reputation in Sweden, where he led Malmo to five consecutive league titles before heading to Switzerland.

His success with the Swiss national side persuaded Internazionale to offer him one of the biggest club jobs in world football. He coached the Serie A club from 1995 to 1997, taking them to the Uefa Cup final in 1997. Hodgson returned briefly for a second stint at the San Siro last April when he was appointed technical director until the end of the season.

Paul Ince has won the backing of the players' union in speaking his mind about his experiences at Liverpool, but has been told he should have chosen his words more carefully. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has defended Ince's right to have his say after the former Anfield captain was allowed to leave the club by the Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier.

"I think Paul had a perfect right to give his side of the story," Taylor said. "He must have felt some form of humiliation as a prominent player with the club, to suddenly be told he no longer had a future there when he had been a senior player and captain of the side."

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