Hiddink admits escape clause from Russia job

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The Independent Football

Guus Hiddink has said his contract with the Russian Football Federation could end as early as November, leaving the door open for a permanent return to Chelsea.

The Dutchman is yet to experience defeat at Stamford Bridge, winning six of his seven games in charge since taking over from Luiz Felipe Scolari last month. However, Hiddink has been steadfast in his stance that he will leave Chelsea in May, having only moved to west London on a short-term deal until the end of the season, But, should Russia fail to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Hiddink has revealed a clause exists that would allow him to leave.

"My contract expires at the period of 2010 World Cup," said Hiddink, whose Chelsea side face Tottenham at White Hart Lane today. "But we also said, as men, that if we don't qualify with Russia, and the Russian Federation likes to go in a different direction or strategy, then we have to talk about how to end the contract. We put a clause in there saying that, if Russia do not qualify, we can talk about leaving at the end of the qualification stage. We could go on, still. It would be up to them if they want to go in a different direction."

Russia are currently second in Group Four, four points behind Germany, although Hiddink's side have played a game less. The team that tops the group will qualify automatically, with the eight best runners-up contesting a two-legged play-off – scheduled for November – for the remaining four places.

Hiddink remains confident that he can lead the Euro 2008 semi-finalists to South Africa, but they are highly unlikely to learn their fate before 14 October, when Russia finish their qualification fixtures with a trip to Azerbaijan, four days after hosting Germany in what is likely to be the group's pivotal game.

Senior Chelsea players, such as Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Michael Ballack have publicaly thrown their support behind the Dutchman, urging him to stay at Stamford Bridge beyond May. But the 62-year-old admits he cannot expect Chelsea to wait for him as they face up to the prospect of having to look for their fifth permanent manager in under two years, having seen Avram Grant and Scolari come and go since the departure of Jose Mourinho in September 2007.

"I've not thought about it," he said. "We have said that I'll be here until the end of May. That's personally what I said. If so, what would Chelsea do in between? That's a different story. It was just to make it very clear, just to give the Russian Federation not the obligation if they want to go with another philosophy without me – perfect. But then we can talk if there is a qualification failure.

"It's too far away. It's now March and we're talking about November. A lot will happen in between."

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