Hiddink keen to cut ties with Russia

MOSCOW - Outgoing Russia coach Guus Hiddink wants to end his contract with the Russian FA as soon as possible so he can consider an offer to coach Ivory Coast at this year's World Cup, his adviser said on Thursday.

"I hope his contract situation would be settled before the end of this month or even sooner," Cees van Nieuwenhuizen told Reuters by telephone from Amsterdam.

Hiddink's contract with Russia expires on July 15, and he is set to start as Turkey's new coach from August 1.

Van Nieuwenhuizen confirmed that Hiddink had been approached by Ivory Coast to lead the African team at this year's World Cup but the Dutchman must first release himself from his obligations with the Russian FA (RFU).

"We must be fair to the Ivory Coast and give them a definite answer in the next couple of weeks," van Nieuwenhuizen said. "But we can't do anything until we sort out Russia's contract."

Media reports say Ivory Coast, who sacked coach Vahid Halilhodzic last month, have offered Hiddink a two-month contract, starting on May 15.

"We have their offer but it doesn't mean Guus will take it even if he was freed from his Russian contract. But at least, he could make his own decisions then," van Nieuwenhuizen said.

However, RFU president Sergei Fursenko has insisted that Hiddink must fulfil his contract obligations to the very end despite the fact that he has not been paid since January.

The National Academy Fund (NAF), sponsored by Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, was paying Hiddink's 7-million-euro salary through the end of last year under the agreement with former RFU president Vitaly Mutko.

Fursenko, who succeeded Mutko as RFU chief last month, last week said "no comment" when asked by Reuters if he intended to pay Hiddink's salary this year.

"It's true my client hasn't been paid since January but right now I'm not going to put any legal pressure on the Russian FA to pay up, there's still time to solve that problem," said van Nieuwenhuizen.

"First, we must work out the settlement with the Russian FA. I'm willing to fly to Moscow or if Mr Fursenko prefers he could come here to Amsterdam to work out the details," he added.