MANAGER GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI and his assistant Marco Tardelli have left their Republic of Ireland posts “by mutual consent.”
Trapattoni and Tardelli met FAI bosses this morning to discuss their future after last night’s 1-0 defeat in Austria effectively ended Ireland’s chances of World Cup qualification.
A statement read: “The Football Association of Ireland, Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli today announced that following an amicable meeting this morning, they have parted company by mutual consent.”
“I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here which has always meant a lot to us,” Trapattoni, 74, said.
“We leave this country with emotion because we understand the Irish supporters who have a well-deserved international reputation and they have our utmost respect.”
The FAI board will meet “in due course” to discuss Trapattoni’s replacement.
Former Celtic and Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill (4/5) has already been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite with Brian McDermott (7/1), Rene Muelensteen (10/1) and Roy Keane (14/1) the other early candidates.
Mick McCarthy (10/1), who managed Ireland to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, is also a strong candidate.
At the very least the FAI will need to have an interim manager in place before their final two qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan next month.
Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk, FAI chief executive John Delaney said that financial cost of ending Trapattoni and Tardelli’s contracts early was not “something substantial.”
Trapattoni was appointed in May 2008 and in his first qualification campaign guided the team to the World Cup play-offs, where they were controversially beaten by France with the aid of a Thierry Henry handball.
After qualifying for the 2012 European Championships — Ireland’s first appearance at the competition since Euro 88 and their first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup — his contract was extended to included qualification for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
But Ireland’s dismal performance in Poland and the Ukraine last summer, where they lost all three games and only scored one goal, was followed by an embarrassing 6-1 defeat at home to Germany last October.
Amid fevered speculation that Trapattoni would be sacked imminently, the FAI reviewed his performance and agreed that the management should remain in place.
Draws against Sweden and Austria in March kept hopes alive over the summer months but back-to-back defeats against their Group C rivals in the space of five days all but ended Ireland’s chances of qualifying — and Trapattoni’s reign.
– Originally published 11.33