Hiddink decision dependent on Russian FA

MOSCOW - Former Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink's decision to continue as Russia chief would largely depend on the new leadership of the country's FA and their ability to make drastic changes in the national game, his adviser said on Friday.

"First of all, let me make it clear that Guus hasn't quit his job, not yet anyway," Cees van Nieuwenhuizen told Reuters in a telephone interview. "His current contract expires in June 2010 and he intends to fulfil it to the end."

Hiddink's future has been the major topic in Russian football since the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup finals after being eliminated by Slovenia in a playoff.

The 63-year-old Dutchman has said he would make up his mind in the next few months after failing to guide his team to a major tournament for the first time in his career.

"Certainly, Guus doesn't want to rush his decision. He needs at least a few days or even a week or two just to clear his mind from negative emotions and recharge his batteries," said van Nieuwenhuizen.

"Then, he can start thinking about his future. But I must say it would largely depend on the new leadership of Russian football and what course of actions they would take."



The Russian FA (RFU) is facing big changes next year, with sports minister Vitaly Mutko announcing this week he was stepping down from his dual role as RFU president.

Mutko, a former St Petersburg politician and a close friend of prime minister Vladimir Putin, was forced to resign after president Dmitry Medvedev demanded last month that all government officials in charge of various national sports bodies should be replaced by professional personnel.

Hiddink said last week he would support Sergei Kapkov, an associate of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who has emerged as the front runner to replace Mutko.

But after the Slovenia defeat, some RFU insiders said the Kremlin might look elsewhere and pick former Zenit St Petersburg president Sergei Fursenko, another friend of Putin, for the job.

"It's no secret that Guus didn't like certain things that were going on within the federation and he openly talked about it and how to change it for the better," van Nieuwenhuizen said.

"So we'll just have to wait and see who will be elected as the new (RFU) chief and what his priorities are going to be."

The president will be elected by the RFU's general assembly in February.