SPORTS

Soccer chief, who believes Rehhagel will stay, says coach won’t be forced to honor deal

The Greek Football Association (EPO) will not force German coach Otto Rehhagel against his will to see out his contract until it expires after the 2006 World Cup, President Vassilis Gagatsis said yesterday. «In case the coach cites personal reasons and wants to disrupt his cooperation with us, we can’t keep him willy-nilly,» Gagatsis was quoted as saying by the website of Flash radio station. «In such a case, we must discuss it with him and see what can be done. I can’t rule out anything,» he said. Rehhagel, who led rank outsiders Greece to victory in the European championships in Portugal, is being tipped as a candidate to succeed Rudi Voeller at the helm of Germany’s ailing national soccer team as the country prepares to host the 2006 World Cup. But Rehhagel’s contract with Greece runs through to 2006. The German arrived in Greece in 2001 and extended his contract for another two years shortly before the Euro championship. Gagatsis reaffirmed his confidence that Rehhagel will stay in Greece. «From countless conversations I have had with him, I conclude that he wants to stay on the Greek bench and offer his services for another two years,» said Gagatsis. (AFP)