Fabio Capello has negotiated a two-year escape clause in his England contract to allow both him and the Football Association a get-out if the 2010 World Cup finals qualification campaign ends in disaster. Capello was finally officially announced as the new England manager yesterday, with the FA claiming that he had signed a four-and-a-half year contract to take him up to the 2012 European Championship.
In reality, Capello, who will sign his contract today, will have a 10-day period in the summer of 2010 when both he and the FA will discuss his position. The Italian will earn around £4m-a-year and the break clause gives the governing body some protection from the massive compensation pay-out they were forced to give to Sven Goran Eriksson last year. It also gives Capello the chance to walk away.
However, the mood was buoyant at FA headquarters in Soho Square yesterday after a week of detailed negotiations with Capello's representatives, his son and lawyer Pierfilippo and the Spanish lawyer Julio Senn Gonzalez. The two men went through the contracts for Capello and his four Italian assistants in minutiae and any clause that caused confusion was sent back to Italy for double-checking and then amended accordingly.
The painstaking checking of contracts – which sources say is the most detailed yet for an England manager – meant the process was slow. It was also delayed by a disagreement over the salaries of the four assistants, Franco Baldini, Italo Galbiati, Franco Tancredi and Massimo Neri who The Independent reported yesterday will have their salaries divided up from a budget given to Capello. The FA said that it had not yet settled upon an Englishman but that Capello would "discuss with Sir Trevor Brooking how to integrate an English presence into the coaching set-up."
The identity of that coach is yet to be decided but the four Italians will be at Soho Square today to sign their contracts and be introduced around the building. Capello's grand presentation to the English media will be on Monday. He will start work on 7 January and already the FA is impressed by the detailed scouting plan that he and his assistants have devised to acquaint themselves with English football.
The new-year football programme will be enlivened by the presence of one of the four Italians at Premier League games. The four men plan to scout intensively and individually, allowing themselves to cover as many games as possible in the shortest space of time. They believe they can complete a detailed assessment of English talent within three months. Baldini in particular will be dispatched all over Europe to keep track of individuals who will be figuring in teams that England will be facing over the coming weeks and months.
The FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, said that Capello filled his criteria of a "world-class" manager. "I am delighted that Fabio Capello has agreed to become England manager," he said. "When we set out to recruit the new manager, we said we were committed to appointing a world-class candidate. In Fabio Capello we have that man.
"Fabio is a winner," Barwick added. "His record over the last two decades speaks for itself. At every club he has managed, Fabio has won the league title and Trevor and I were left in no doubt of his passion and commitment to bring that success to the England team."
The FA board gave Capello their unanimous approval when Barwick contacted them yesterday. The speed of the appointment surprised the board who expected to be asked to vote at the next scheduled meeting on Thursday. They will be curious to know whether Alan Shearer, Stuart Pearce or David Platt have been approached with a view to being the "English presence" in the coaching set-up.
Platt's command of Italian would make him an obvious choice, despite his failings with the England Under-21 side, because whoever takes the job will have to break into the group of Italians Capello is bringing with him. The Fulham manager, Lawrie Sanchez, said yesterday that the FA should dispense with an English coach because it was unlikely to result in an Englishman eventually being promoted to the top job.
Sanchez said: "It would be a sop. The same discussion was had when Sven-Goran Eriksson got the job five years ago, about bringing in English people to work with him, to be groomed. Sammy Lee was brought in, David Platt was brought in and [Steve] McClaren was brought in with a view to this being a one-off and in five years' time we would have enough English managers with experience to do it.
"McClaren got the job but no longer has it and now we have gone back to foreign again for the foreseeable future. Doing the training and the bits and pieces around it is a great PR exercise but I don't think it is particularly helpful to becoming a good manager. Steve McClaren was a club manager. The only way you learn management is by managing. We all know that No 2s stepping up haven't had great success this season."