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Scolari turns down offer to become England coach

Scolari said several factors caused him to rebuff England's interest, which reportedly included a sizable pay-rise.

india Updated: May 05, 2006 16:39 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Luiz Felipe Scolari has announced he is not interested in taking over as England football coach, a day after English officials approached him about replacing Sven-Goran Eriksson after the World Cup.

"The English FA is going to choose a name. My name isn't one of them because I'm closing this matter here," Scolari said in Marienfeld, Germany, where he was visiting Portugal's World Cup base. His comments were broadcast live by Portuguese state radio Antena 1.

"I was very pleased they considered me, but definitely at this time I want to draw a line under this matter," Scolari said on Friday.

English Football Association officials met with Scolari's agent Gilmar Veloz on Thursday in Lisbon. Eriksson, a Swede who has served as England coach for five years, is leaving the job after the June 9-July 9 World Cup in Germany.

Scolari said several factors caused him to rebuff England's interest, which reportedly included a sizable pay-rise. He cited his fondness for Portugal and reluctance to deal with further media intrusion.

"I don't want anything more to do with this England matter because in the space of two days ... My life was invaded, my privacy was disrupted," he said. "Today there are still 20 reporters outside my home."

Scolari said he had dinner with friends on Thursday evening and they urged him to stay in Portugal.

"I feel I'm still important in Portugal for the national team, for the people of this country and for the project we've started since 2003," when he took charge, Scolari said.

Scolari didn't say whether he would extend his contract with Portugal beyond July 31, when it expires.

After his statement, Scolari posed with a Portugal scarf.

"I am committed to the Portuguese federation until the end of the World Cup and maybe longer," Scolari said.

His decision was a major setback for the FA, which began the search for a new coach three months ago.

"It is no secret that Mr Scolari is one of the candidates that The FA has spoken to as part of the recruitment process," the FA said in a statement after Scolari's announcement. "We will now reflect on his announcement before making any further comment as we move forward with the process."

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren, who is Eriksson's assistant, would now appear to be the front-runner for the England job.

The 59-year-old Scolari, who led Brazil to a record fifth World Cup title in 2002, said earlier on Friday that during his three years in charge he had turned down offers from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

The Portuguese national team has had its best run of results ever under Scolari.

He took charge of Portugal in February 2003, and within two years guided the team to the final of the 2004 European Championship, where it lost to Greece.

The Portuguese were unbeaten in their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, with nine wins and three draws. 

Portuguese soccer federation president Gilberto Madail described Scolari as "a great man" and hinted that he would be offered a contract extension.

"We're grateful for all he's done for the Portugal team and the joy he's given to the Portuguese people," Madail told a news conference in Lisbon.

"We have projects for the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup . 

First Published: Apr 29, 2006 11:07 IST

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