Germany and Low agree to end deal row

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The Independent Football

The row over the extension of Joachim Low's contract as Germany coach beyond the World Cup was officially ended at a press conference yesterday, although questions still remained about Low's future.

Low was joined at a media gathering by German football federation president Dr Theo Zwanziger, the federation's general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach and Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff, and all present declared the issue as resolved.

The coach's body language suggested the row had left a mark on him, but he toed the line as he delivered the first statement. "We will not let this accompany us to the World Cup," said Low.

"We have a clear roadmap to the World Cup and these things which have happened since last week have been forgotten; all misunderstandings and all details have been cleared out of the way. We are all agreed that our only interest in the coming weeks and months is the World Cup.

"We have an incredibly, incredibly big responsibility because we are not just representing the federation but the entire country at a tournament abroad and millions of fans want and hope that the team can play well. I can assure you that we will do everything, everything. I am convinced that with me and my team, we will have a good tournament."

The row erupted last week when the German federation (DFB) released a statement revealing that negotiations over the extension of Low's contract, which expires on 31 July this year, had been put on ice.

Only last December, DFB president Dr Zwanziger had said that a gentlemen's agreement had been reached with Low and Bierhoff, as well as the rest of the coaching team, and that the matter would be resolved early in 2010.

However, it emerged that Dr Zwanziger had issued an ultimatum to Low to commit himself to a new deal within 48 hours after Bierhoff presented some new demands which the president deemed unreasonable.

"I saw these contracts and asked myself, 'what's all that about?' and I tried to rescue everything with a new suggestion," explained Zwanziger.

"My aim was not to be disrespectful – I have a lot of respect for them and I know what a tough task they have ahead. My aim was to save what could be saved and extend the contracts."

However, Zwanziger admitted he had made an error in putting pressure on Low to sign on the dotted line.

"We have to say now that success at the World Cup is only achievable with this coach," he said. "I am convinced of that now and will be in the future."

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