Hiddink cleared for Chelsea-Russia role

BELEK, Turkey - Russian football chiefs gave Guus Hiddink the go-ahead on Tuesday to take over as Chelsea manager until the end of the season while continuing as Russia coach.

Hiddink told Reuters he had a special relationship with Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich and was approached by the Premier League club to coach the team after Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked on Monday.

"I must say that this is an exceptional situation. If it was any other club aside from Chelsea my answer would be a straight 'No'," the Dutchman said in an exclusive interview at the Mediterranean resort of Belek during a training camp.

"But Chelsea is different because I have good relations with the (club) owner. So I would like to help them (Chelsea) in this situation if I could."

Russian FA general director Alexei Sorokin later told Reuters in a telephone interview from Moscow the temporary appointment would not pose a problem and had been given their approval.

"The timetable of the national team allows Guus to combine the two jobs," he said.


Asked if this would involve working as a consultant for Chelsea's coaching staff, Hiddink said: "No, this would be a full managerial role, a day-to-day job.

"But this would only be for the next two or three months until the end of the season," he added.

"Of course when Russia would play (World Cup qualifiers) I would go there to coach them during that (international window) as there won't be any (league) games during that time.

"I have already done that (combining two jobs) a couple of years ago when I was coaching Australia and PSV (Eindhoven), so I'm familiar with the situation and what it takes."

Hiddink also said he was fully committed to helping Russia qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.


"I will not leave my job with the Russian national team. It's out of the question," he said.

"When I took the Russia job it was a long-term project and I don't like to leave it unfinished."

Asked if he knew about Brazilian Scolari's fate before the news was released on Monday, he said: "Well, you have your contacts and I have mine.

"I did get a phone call from them (Chelsea management) and we discussed the situation but we haven't come to a final decision just yet.

"But the situation can change any day or even any hour."

The Dutchman said that before making any decisions he would discuss his future with Russian soccer chief Vitaly Mutko.

"I was planning to fly to Europe from Turkey at the end of the training camp (on Wednesday) but I can change that and I can go directly to Moscow to meet with Mutko," he said.

"In any case, we'll meet in the next few days and will talk about the whole thing."

Chelsea thanked the Russian FA in a statement for giving the west London club permission to talk to Hiddink.

"Chelsea Football Club can confirm it has officially approached the Russian Football Union (RFU) for permission to speak to Guus Hiddink to become the club's temporary coach until the end of the season while continuing to be in charge of the Russian national team," it said.