Sven Goran Eriksson has completed his set of apologies after the News of the World's "fake" sheikh sting last week with a call to the Aston Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, to say sorry for any offence caused in openly discussing the 82-year-old's ill health, but the England manager's appetite for contrition will not stretch to the terms of his contract.
Another excruciating phone call - after the six made to senior players - following Sunday's disclosures brought to an end one of the most embarrassing apologies in recent British public life. When proposing that the bogus Sheikh try to buy Villa, Eriksson described Ellis, a Football Association international committee member when the governing body appointed the Swede in 2000, as "old" and "sick". However, the FA will not find the Swede so compliant on his contract.
Sources close to Eriksson have indicated that he will seek to get the full value from his contract which, after the World Cup finals, will be worth around £8.2m over the next two years. In a proposal mooted by some members of the international committee, the FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, should try to negotiate a settlement with Eriksson before the tournament that would allow him to secure a new job for next season.
Such a plan would, in theory, involve Eriksson and the FA coming to some kind of agreement between now and June about his contract that would see the Swede leaving the post after the tournament this summer. The advantage to the FA would be that they would not have to pay up on the full value of Eriksson's remaining contract - a compromise that Eriksson's advisers feel is unacceptable.
It means that the England manager looks set for a final, messy stand-off with his employers after this summer's competition. If England fare badly, and Eriksson does not have acceptable options elsewhere, it appears that Barwick will have to sack the Swede, and pay out on the expensive remainder of his contract.
The Villa manager, David O'Leary, to whom Eriksson has, apparently, not apologised over the comments he made about potentially becoming manager at Villa, said it was "not acceptable" for Eriksson to have spoken about taking over at the club.Reuse content