The Football Association have reaffirmed Sven Goran Eriksson's commitment to his England contract despite his desire to return to club management at some point in the future. The England coach had managed to reopen the debate over his future with comments at a business conference.
The Swede, who has been linked with a possible move to Chelsea next summer, was quoted as saying: "I have always said that maybe one day I would be going back to club football. First, I would like to finish the job I have. I am extremely proud. We have a big game against Turkey and hopefully we will do well in Euro 2004. Then, one day, back to club football, but where I don't know."
That was taken as an indication of the growing possibility that Eriksson could leave his England post as early as next summer. However, the Swede has continually stated that he is happy to see out his contract with England, which runs until after the 2006 World Cup. And the FA moved to insist that Eriksson's comments did not conflict with this intention. "We wish to reaffirm that he remains under contract with the FA until 2006," said the FA's head of media Adrian Bevington. "Contrary to some reports, there are no escape clauses in this deal."
Roman Abramovich's wealth at Chelsea would not find the lack of an escape clause too much of a hindrance, however. But Bevington added: "We are perfectly happy with the situation and delighted with the job that Sven is doing. He also continues to enjoy the role, as can be seen from the excellent results he is achieving.
"Sven has never made any secret of the fact that one day he would like to return to club management. However, he has never expressed any desire to leave his role as England coach. Therefore, we look forward to enjoying further success with Sven at the helm as we progress towards Portugal next summer and thereafter."
Eriksson today addresses England fans in an open letter, urging them not to travel to Istanbul for the highly-charged Euro 2004 tie against Turkey on 11 October. "Stay at home and support your team," he says.