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NEWS ARTICLE
Thursday April 13, 2006 Football :: Sebastian Hassett


Littbarski commits to Sydney


Hyundai A-League Sydney FC coach Pierre Littbarski has agreed to extend his stay with the A-League club for a further season.

After months of speculation and controversy regarding the German's tenure, the two parties came together this week to sort out an in-principle agreement which keeps Littbarski as coach until the end of the 2006-7 season.

"We are delighted that Pierre has agreed to stay with Sydney FC," said club chairman Walter Bugno.

"Sydney FC had an extremely successful campaign under Pierre in the inaugural season and we are happy he will be at the helm again."

Littbarski, 45, publicly questioned the club after they repeatedly stalled in offering him a new contract, with the three-time World Cup finalist claiming he was 'ready to look elsewhere'.

Scottish club Hearts were rumoured to be chasing the championship-winning coach, and just days ago Littbarski declared it would be an 'honour' to be linked with a move to Tynecastle.

However, with Littbarski's family believed to have settled happily in Sydney, a move back to Europe has now been delayed for at least 12 months.

Sydney FC is said to have offered Littbarski a 30 per cent pay cut from his original $700,000 per year deal, but while the former Yokohama coach insisted money was never an issue, it became an obvious source of friction between club and coach over time.

Littbarski had a highly successful first season in Australia, guiding the club to an impressive performance at the World Club Championships in Japan before claiming the A-League title last month.

After the grand final, there was a period of uncertainty concerning the future of Littbarski, captain Dwight Yorke and chairman Bugno.

Sydney FC can now look forward to launching its upcoming season on a stable footing, as now all three seem to have settled their respective differences with the club.

"Now that we have ascertained Pierre is staying with the club we look forward to putting together a team to defend the A-League title," said Bugno.

Queensland Roar's Alex Brosque headlines Sydney FC's on-field arrivals, with the former Marconi star joined by Ruben Zadkovich and Kiwi Jeremy Brockie, who have both clinched two-year deals.

"Sydney FC has already signed some good, young players with Pierre's knowledge and guidance, and we look forward to the players coming back in early May to start training for another season," said Bugno.

The precise terms of Littbarski's contract are set to be finalised when the coach returns from a family holiday in Japan in two weeks.

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