Franco Baldini to leave England for Roma

The Football Association have confirmed England general manager Franco Baldini is to leave his post at the end of England's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

A close confidant of manager Fabio Capello, Baldini is the best English speaker of the Italian regime currently in charge of the Three Lions.

Baldini has been used as the main contact with Capello's players but it has long been speculated that he would like to take the offer of a job with Serie A outfit Roma.

That will now happen, although it is possible that Baldini could be used on a one-off basis for a friendly against an as yet unnamed opponent in February and also at Euro 2012 should England qualify.

Capello said: "Franco has been given a good opportunity by Roma but I am happy he will stay with me and the England team until after the qualification programme.

"For me, this is very important. We can decide after this if Franco will be with us for the European Championships."

The FA have depicted this as good business.

For a start it saves them financially as Baldini will no longer be paid by them, even if he takes on those additional responsibilities as Capello hopes.

That would include bonuses for performances during Euro 2012.

They also believe a precedent exists in how Steve McClaren worked as Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant whilst still holding down a full-time job at Middlesbrough.

However, it does smack of a reduction in the overall effectiveness of Capello's coaching structure.

Even if it was imparting bad news, as has happened too frequently, Baldini has been an extremely useful member of Capello's backroom staff, not least because the manager himself tends not to go in for lengthy explanations of what others might regard as key decisions.

With Capello due to stand down at the end of Euro 2012, the FA have already had to fend off suggestions that the Three Lions lack focus.

England's position at Euro 2012 is by no means certain and a trip to Podgorica in October will inevitably decide whether they reach Poland and Ukraine automatically or be pitched into a hazardous play-off the following month, for which Baldini will also be available.

The FA have confirmed Baldini will remain in post until that qualification programme is complete, even if the two matches in November are involved, although if passage is secured by then, he will be allowed to leave.

FA chairman David Bernstein told www.TheFA.com: "We respect his decision to accept the offer from Roma.

"I would like to thank Franco for the professional way in which he has handled this and maintained his sole commitment to working with Fabio and the team until after the qualifying games."

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