Hiddink to remain in Russia role

MOSCOW - Guus Hiddink is fully committed to his job as Russia coach at least until the end of his contract in June, his adviser said on Wednesday.

Hiddink's future has been a hot topic since Russia failed to qualify for this year's World Cup in South Africa after being eliminated by Slovenia in November's play-off.

Media reports have repeatedly linked the Dutchman with a number of top European clubs and national teams, most recently Italy's Juventus.

Hiddink's adviser Cees van Nieuwenhuizen dismissed the reports as pure speculation.

"As of now, Guus Hiddink is still 100 percent Russia coach and we had not have any contract talks with any of the clubs regardless of what the media, especially the Italian media, says," Van Nieuwenhuizen told Reuters by telephone.

"Guus has just came back from a holiday in Africa and we plan to meet this Sunday to discuss the situation with regards to his future."

The National Academy Fund (NAF), sponsored by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, said this week it had stopped paying Hiddink's 7-million-euro Russia salary as of January 1, adding fuel to the speculation over his future.

Van Nieuwenhuizen said Hiddink would first talk to the new president of the Russian FA (RFU) before making any decision.

The RFU is facing big changes since sports minister Vitaly Mutko was forced to resign from his dual role as RFU president in November after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev demanded all government officials in charge of national sports bodies should be replaced by professional personnel.

Former Zenit St Petersburg president Sergei Fursenko, like Mutko a close friend of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has emerged as the front runner to head the RFU.

"Guus has had a proposal from Mutko to extend his Russia contract for another two years," said Van Nieuwenhuizen.

"But now Fursenko is the likely (RFU) boss so it would be logical for Guus to talk to him first before making any plans for the future. That's where the situation is at the moment."

The RFU chief will be elected on February 3.