Schalke sack manager Felix Magath after players' revolt

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The Independent Online

Felix Magath was sacked as Schalke boss today with chairman Clemens Tonnies claiming he had lost the dressing room.

The Royal Blues announced this morning, following an extraordinary session of the club's supervisory board, that they were parting company with Magath with immediate effect.

The decision brings to an end the former Wolfsburg coach's 20-month stint in charge at the Veltins-Arena and comes just a week after he guided Schalke to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Tonnies revealed the team had complained to him about Magath, with whom he then held a private meeting in a bid to address the problem, but without success.

He told a press conference: "Shortly after (meeting with the team committee) I sought a private meeting with Felix Magath. This was very forceful.

"He listened to what I had to say but did not talk much. My feedback to the team was: I have spoken to the coach, I hope the issue has now been sorted.

"Then I had another meeting with the team committee. It stressed that the situation had got worse and worse.

"I then had another conversation with Magath. It was quite an argument between the two of us. I told him: 'Schalke does not function like this, you have to reach out to the people and take them with you. You are losing this team, at least mentally'."

Magath, who agreed a four-year contract at the Veltins-Arena in 2009, guided the team to second place in the table last term and qualification to the Champions League, and further boosted their profile in the summer with the marquee signing of Raul from Real Madrid.

This season they have been inconsistent. They sit only 10th in the table, but are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the final of the DFB-Pokal. Magath, though, has grown increasingly unpopular with the club's fans.

"For Schalke's point of view there are very good reasons for this separation," Tonnies said.

"We will not make these public as a legal battle is now ahead of us.

"But we very relaxed about this process.

"What we have decided is a good result for Schalke."

Tonnies revealed one event persuaded him to change his stance on Magath, whom he had backed earlier in the campaign despite poor results, but would not say what it was.

"I've always stood by Felix Magath, even when the sporting results were not forthcoming," he said. "But then came a key event which turned me around 180 degrees.

"There has to be a reason why I kept a coach when we were in 16th place, but he has been released now we are 10th and have had success in the cups."

Magath chose not to attend today's board meeting as, according to a statement from his lawyer reported in Kicker magazine, he felt he had not been sufficiently informed about the topics up for discussion. According to reports, he found out about his sacking from the media.

The statement from Ralf Hocker read: "Mister Magath won't attend Wednesday's board meeting as he feels participating doesn't make any sense. The club yesterday sent Mr Magath only a minimal and incomplete agenda of the meeting.

"If Mr Magath is to get the opportunity to speak, he has to know what the session is essentially about. We therefore asked the club to finally let us know what the concrete accusations are and provide us with the appropriate documentation."

According to reports in Germany, former Hoffenheim boss Ralf Rangnick is set to be named as Magath's successor as coach.

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