Grant qualifications in doubt

September 22, 2007

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Former Israel national coach Avram Grant's qualifications to succeed Jose Mourinho as manager of Chelsea have been questioned by the English Premier League, spokesman Dan Johnson said on Saturday.

'We have written to Chelsea to remind them of these requirements regarding these qualifications,' he told Reuters.

Johnson declined to add to the league's official position, but it was confirmed by UEFA spokesman William Gaillard that Grant has earned coaching and management qualifications only in his native Israel.

Gaillard said there was a convention between UEFA and the English FA which requires Premier League club managers to hold a UEFA Pro licence.

Chelsea have said Grant does not have one and will need special dispensation to manage the club for more than 12 weeks. The Pro licence requires 240 hours of study and usually takes a year to gain.

The Premier League has granted extensions beyond a 12-week period of grace in certain cases.

These have included former Newcastle United manager Glenn Roeder, who received an extension on health grounds, and current Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate, who was deemed to have had restricted opportunities to gain a licence.

The Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill was also granted an exemption after undergoing a five-day refresher course.

Grant has never held a manager's position in England and he has not been in a manager's job for five years.