THE Football Association is still ducking and diving over whether it will sign the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari as England's soccer manager for the 2010 World Cup. All the indications are that the FA wants him and that he is willing to sign if some contractual details can be straightened out, not least whether he could ethically commit himself while still managing Portugal, a team that England might meet during this summer's World Cup. In a radio interview yesterday he confrimed his interest but rather charmingly insisted that his biggest difficulty would be with the English language! No one will dispute that Scolari has excellent credentials; he won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and took Portugal to the Euro 2004 finals. Other questions arise, however. If a foreigner is to be appointed again, why should it not be Arsene Wenger who can claim to be almost a naturalised Englishman through his work at Arsenal. Has he even been approached? It was a surprise to see yesterday's report that Scolari's appointment had been championed within the FA by the Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein. Also of concern is the issue raised yesterday by Howard Wilkinson, chairman of the League Managers' Association.
He asked what message the choice of a foreign manager for the second successive time would send to those outstanding UK coaches who have trained under FA schemes but now see that the preference is again for an outsider.