AFP: Iran on Tuesday said Spanish trainer Javier Clemente rejected an offer to coach the national football team after a row over his insistence on living at home in Spain rather than in the Islamic republic. TEHRAN (AFP) Iran on Tuesday said Spanish trainer Javier Clemente rejected an offer to coach the national football team after a row over his insistence on living at home in Spain rather than in the Islamic republic.
The announcement ends a weeks-long, often contradictory, saga over whether Clemente would agree terms and means one of Asia’s heavyweight teams is still without a coach with the 2010 World Cup qualifiers underway.
Ali Kafashian, the head of Iran’s football federation, said Clemente had refused to sign an addendum to his contract committing him to only leaving Iran twice a year.
“Clemente said in a letter to the Iranian embassy in Spain that he is not ready to have a new addition to his contract as Iranian national team coach,” Kafashian told the ISNA news agency.
“We are going to study other options for the coach,” he added.
Iran’s sports press had bitterly mocked Clemente for his insistence on doing much of his work by watching videos at his luxury villa in northern Spain and officials also said they did not want a coach who “just flies in-and-out”.
Kafashian said Clemente could still change his mind but hinted the chances were higher of hiring an Iranian coach after the unhappy experience of selecting a foreign-born trainer.
“There are five or six domestic choices and two or three foreign ones. In the next two to three days we will officially announce the coach,” he added.
Despite boasting stars like Bolton Wanderers midfielder Andranik Teymourian and Eintracht Frankfurt winger Mehdi Mahdavikia, the national side has underperformed after being dumped out of the 2006 World Cup in the first round.
The Team Melli suffered a major embarrassment earlier this month when it could only draw with minnows Syria in its first World Cup qualifier, a performance that betrayed the effects of the lack of a coach.
Clemente coached the Spanish national side in two World Cups but was available for the Iran job after Serbia sacked him for failing to lead the team to the Euro 2008 finals.