LONDON -- Sven-Goran Eriksson will quit as England's coach after the World Cup, cutting short his tenure by two years and making the Swede a lame duck heading into soccer's most important tournament.
Brian Barwick, chief executive of The Football Association, reached agreement with Eriksson during a six-hour meeting Monday. The announcement was made eight days after a British tabloid published comments by the coach that were critical of some players. Eriksson made the remarks to a reporter who was posing as an Arab sheik. "The FA and Sven felt it was important to clarify his future," Barwick said. "This is for the benefit of everyone connected with English football, especially the fans. There has been so much speculation surrounding this matter in recent weeks and months, it was important to resolve it now."
Eriksson, England's first foreign coach, was hired in October 2000 and is under contract through 2008. He has coached England to a 34-10-15 record.
"I know that I have the full support of the players and the FA, and it is important to stress to everyone just how committed I am to achieving success this summer," Eriksson said in a statement. "I care passionately about this job, and I want everyone to know that."
In the newspaper, Eriksson was quoted as saying David Beckham was frustrated at Real Madrid and was eager to return to English soccer. He described defender Rio Ferdinand as "lazy" and said Wayne Rooney had a temper and came from a poor family. He also said Michael Owen was rich but unhappy at Newcastle and that Shaun Wright-Phillips' $37 million transfer to Chelsea was overpriced.
Eriksson also was quoted as saying said he would quit if England wins the World Cup this year and suggested he would be interested in becoming manager at Aston Villa. He also said that some Premier League managers were corrupt.
On Friday, Eriksson began legal action against the newspaper for breach of confidence. He went to Dubai at the invitation of an apparently legitimate company to discuss the possibility of a future sports development consultancy.
Manchester City's Stuart Pearce, Bolton's Sam Allardyce, Middlesbrough's Steve McClaren and Charlton's Alan Curbishley have been mentioned as possible replacements, and former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he was interested in taking over for Eriksson. Scolari is Portugal's coach and has a contract that ends after the World Cup.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press