Smith set to vacate role with Scottish youngsters

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The Independent Online

Alex Smith, the Dundee United manager, has made it clear he is willing to step down from his part-time role as Scotland Under-21 manager.

Smith said he saw his club job as his own personal priority and also believed that the Under-21 post should be a full-time one. Speaking after his side's 1-0 home defeat by Rangers, Smith admitted he had not yet held talks with the new Scotland manager, Berti Vogts.

Vogts, who was at the game, wants a full-time appointment and Smith revealed he had previously campaigned for just such a move. "The position deserves to be full-time. There is too much work to be done in such an important position like that to leave it part-time. We felt two or three years ago it should have been a full-time position.

"If there is assistance of some kind needed then I will be queuing up to give that at least for the initial settling-in period. But my job is Dundee United's manager and I won't compromise that position."

Lennart Johansson, the president of European football's governing body, has dismissed suggestions he was behind recent bribery allegations against Sepp Blatter, but promised that the president of the world body, Fifa, would be asked to explain himself this week. Not only will Blatter have to clarify financial problems at Fifa, but he will also have to defend himself against new allegations that bribes helped him get his job in 1998. The issues will come to a head when Fifa's executive committee meets in Zurich on Thursday.

"I hope that the existing group of the executive committee will review Fifa's finances together with external experts. Then we would know where we stand and why we are spending money that is meant for the 2006 World Cup," Johansson said. "This is the most important point for me. As far as the bribery allegations, I have never accused Blatter of being guilty and having paid the money in question. This is a matter for others. But we cannot let the issue go."

Abel Xavier would like to see Nicolas Anelka's loan move to Liverpool made permanent in the summer. The Reds have first option to buy Anelka from Paris St-Germain, as part of the deal which brought the French striker to Anfield in December. "All the players see that Anelka is great for the team," Abel Xavier said. "He's an important member of the squad. I think it would be good if he stays."

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