Loew decision put on hold

Germany coach Joachim Loew and the country’s football federation

have been unable to agree on a contract extension and have delayed

a decision on his future until after the World Cup.

An emergency meeting of the federation’s board Thursday in

Frankfurt ended without an agreement, raising the prospect of a

major distraction as the three-time World Cup champion prepares for

the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa.

A new deal for Loew, long considered a formality, fell

through over “new ideas” that were “surprisingly presented in

January” and were considered unacceptable by the federation,

according to DFB president Theo Zwanziger.

“A compromise proposal by the DFB was not accepted by the

sporting leadership and that’s why we are not continuing the

talks,” Zwanziger said. “We don’t want to jeopardize preparations

for the World Cup.”

Zwanziger announced in December that Loew and he had “shook

hands” on a new deal for Loew, whose contract runs out after the

World Cup. But Loew later said some details still had to be

settled.

Although the DFB did not give details of the disagreements,

Bild newspaper reported that Loew wanted a “signing fee” bonus for

himself and his assistants equivalent to an annual salary. Other

reports have mentioned a dispute over the way the under-21 team is

run and a veto right reportedly demanded by national team manager

Oliver Bierhoff in picking a new coach after Loew.

“In principle, both sides are interested in continuing the

good cooperation but could not agree on important aspects,”

Zwanziger said. “That’s why we came to the common conclusion to

abandon the negotiations and to concentrate solely on preparations

for the World Cup.”

Zwanziger said there were “structural problems” and “economic

aspects” on which the positions were too far part for a speedy

solution.”

Bierhoff, a member of Loew’s staff, said: “We would have

preferred a quick contract extension before the World Cup. But we

accept the decision and will concentrate fully on World Cup

preparations.”

“We were in favor of continuing the negotiations because we

know that this subject will stay with us until and during the World

Cup,” Bierhoff said.

DFB general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach compared the current

situation to the 2006 World Cup, which Germany hosted, when it was

unclear if then coach Juergen Klinsmann would remain in charge

after the tournament.

Klinsmann led Germany to a third-place finish and eventually

decided to quit. His assistant Loew got the job.