FA insists it will ‘100%’ reject any offers for Sarina Wiegman amid US vacancy | OneFootball

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The Guardian

·17 August 2023

FA insists it will ‘100%’ reject any offers for Sarina Wiegman amid US vacancy

Article image:FA insists it will ‘100%’ reject any offers for Sarina Wiegman amid US vacancy

The Football Association will “100%” reject any offers for Sarina Wiegman, its chief executive, Mark Bullingham, has said in the build-up to the Lionesses’ first World Cup final, against Spain on Sunday.

After USA were eliminated at the last-16 stage of the World Cup, American fans and journalists have argued that US Soccer should go all out to recruit the back-to-back Euros winning manager Wiegman to replace Vlatko Andonovski, who resigned this week.

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“We’ve seen lots of rumours, and look, she is a special talent. We know that,” said Bullingham. “From our side, she’s contracted through until 2025. We think she’s doing a great job.

“We’re huge supporters of her and hopefully she feels the same way. So she’s someone we’d like to have with us for a very long time.”

Asked whether that was the case at any cost, Bullingham said: “It is not about money. We are very, very happy with her and we feel she is happy. I think that is the answer.”

Conversations over Wiegman’s contract will take place after the World Cup. “We’ve always said we’d get to it after a tournament,” said Bullingham. “We’ve had good conversations after the Euros and there will be an appropriate time to do it.

“We’ve got a bit of time because she’s contracted until 2025 and she’ll want to have a decent holiday after this. But all I’ll say is we’re massive fans of her.”

Bullingham said it was disrespectful to imply that replacing Gareth Southgate would be any kind of step up for Wiegman, but added they would always consider the best “person” for the job.

“Firstly, it’s a bit disrespectful of the Lionesses to project it as a step up. People always say ‘it is the best man for the job’ or ‘the best Englishman’. Why does it have to be a man? Our answer is always: it’s the best person for the job.

“We think Sarina is doing a great job and hope she continues doing it for a long time. Sarina could do anything she wants in football.

“Do I think football is behind other sports in terms of lack of female coaches at the top level? I do. That has to change and also, do I think Sarina could do any job in football? Yes, I do. I’m really happy with the job she’s doing, and I hope she stays doing that job for a long time. If at some point in the future she decides she wants to move into the men’s game, that would be a really interesting discussion but that’s for her, right?”

If the men’s job should not be viewed as a step up, then it could be argued that Wiegman’s contract should match that of Southgate’s in terms of salary. Wiegman has lost one game in four major tournaments – Euros and World Cups – in charge of Netherlands and England.

“Over time that’s where you’ve got to get to,” said Bullingham. “If you look at the disparity in the market and the income coming in, that’s why you’ve got a difference. We don’t talk about people’s remuneration. I would say that Sarina is, within the market she operates, well-paid.

“If you look at the comparison in the men’s game, it’s a different market. I really want those markets to merge, over time, but we’re not there yet.”

Bullingham also said that there is no change in the discussions on bonuses, which were paused at the start of the tournament, because of the Lionesses reaching a World Cup final.

“They had a very strong case before, a very strong case after, but the reality is, there’s a discussion to be had,” he said.

“Fifa announced the prize money very late and it was a completely different model that led to a different type of discussion so it just means there wasn’t a lot of time. It’s more time being an issue, rather than anything else.”

The chief executive added that the FA has permission from Brent council to install a statue to honour the recent successes of the women’s team outside Wembley. “It’s something we are looking at post Euros, we’ve made progress on that, and it would be right to have something to commemorate that success outside Wembley,” he said.

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