Rijkaard sacked as Saudi football coach

Updated 30 January 2013

Rijkaard sacked as Saudi football coach

RIYADH: The Saudi Football Federation fired the national team’s Dutch manager Frank Rijkaard on Wednesday following the kingdom's poor performance in last week's 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations in Bahrain.
Federation chairman Ahmed Eid Al-Harbi said the decision to sack Rijkaard came after a vote by a majority of members of the federation.
Al-Harbi said the federation appointed Saudi-Spanish Union football expert Sergio as the first coach and assigned Salman al-Quraini as a supervisor.
Sports analysts had predicted Rijkaard's sacking after Saudi Arabia failed to reach group stage, losing 2-0 to Iraq and 1-0 to Kuwait. It's sole victory was over Yemen, 2-0.
Saudi Arabia signed a three-year deal in July 2011 with Rijkaard after the national team was eliminated from the Asian Cup, capped by a 5-0 defeat by Japan.
He replaced Nassir al-Johar, who was dismissed after that campaign, described by local media as the lowest point in the kingdom's football history after appearing in four World Cups.
The Saudi team failed to make it to the 2010 World Cup and it fell to 92nd in the FIFA world rankings from a high of 23rd in 2004.
Under Rijkaard's stewardship, however, the kingdom's ranking fell down farther to 126th.
Rijkaard’s contract with Saudi Arabia was reportedly worth $9 million, with a penalty clause of more than $4 million in case of dismissal.
But the head of the kingdom’s sports body, Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, who was the head of the football federation when former Barcelona boss Rijkaard was hired in July 2011, has said that he is willing to foot the bill of ending Rijkaard’s three-year contract.
Rijkaard is the second manager to lose his job at the championship after Qatar announced the dismissal of Brazilian coach Paulo Autuori on Tuesday following the team’s elimination in the first round.


Rooney says handling of Premier League pay row ‘a disgrace’

Wayne Rooney said he had the means and the will to make financial contributions, but felt the public pressure being exerted on players was unhelpful. (Files/AFP)
Updated 05 April 2020

Rooney says handling of Premier League pay row ‘a disgrace’

  • The Premier League’s suggested strategy involving a combination of pay cuts and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of wages, was discussed in a conference call with players’ and managers’ representatives on Saturday

NEW YORK: Wayne Rooney has criticized the government and the Premier League for placing footballers in a “no-win situation” over proposed pay cuts after players were urged to make sacrifices during the coronavirus crisis.
The former England captain, now playing with Championship side Derby, penned an impassioned column in the Sunday Times saying his fellow professionals were “easy targets” in the wider response to the pandemic.
It came after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) said a proposed 30 percent pay cut could hurt the National Health Service because it would hit tax receipts.
Rooney said he had both the means and the will to make financial contributions, either in the form of salary reductions or direct donations to the NHS, but felt the public pressure being exerted on players was unhelpful.
The Premier League’s suggested strategy involving a combination of pay cuts and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of wages, was discussed in a conference call with players’ and managers’ representatives on Saturday.
Initial talks were already taking place before key political figures, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, called for action.
“If the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I’d be proud to do so — as long as I knew where the money was going,” wrote Rooney.
The 34-year-old added: “I’m in a place where I could give something up. Not every footballer is in the same position. Yet suddenly the whole profession has been put on the spot with a demand for 30 percent pay cuts across the board. Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats?
“How the past few days have played out is a disgrace.”
The Premier League has been seen as lagging behind other European leagues in its response to coronavirus and was accused by one British lawmaker of operating in a “moral vacuum.”
But Rooney questioned the wisdom of the Premier League in preempting behind-the-scenes talks involving players with its own proposals for sweeping reductions.
“In my opinion it is now a no-win situation,” he said. “Whatever way you look at it, we’re easy targets.”
He said the Premier League’s contribution of £20 million to the NHS was “a drop in the ocean” compared with the amount clubs would save with wage cuts.
And he questioned why stars from other sports were not the focus of similar attention.
Former England striker Gary Lineker echoed Rooney’s sentiments, telling the BBC that footballers he had spoken to were “desperately keen” to offer help but were an easy target.
“Why not call on all the wealthy to try and help if they possibly can rather than just pick on footballers?” he said.
“Nobody seems to talk about the bankers, the CEOs, huge millionaires. Are they standing up? Are they being asked to stand up? We don’t know.”