Javier Clemente, reported to be taking control of Iran
[AFP]
Iranian media has reported former Spain coach Javier Clemente has accepted the offer to coach Iran's national football team.

The three-times Asian Cup winners have been without a coach since the departure of Amir Ghalenoei after they were knocked out of the Asian Cup by South Korea in the quarter-finals last July.

The Iran Football Federation (FFI) in January said Clemente had been appointed to the post ahead of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers that started this month, but Clemente at the time said his decision would depend on a visit to Iran.

The ISNA news agency said he had now signed the contract without giving details.

Clemente was sacked by Serbia in December after failing to steer his team to the Euro 2008 finals.

Iran got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a disappointing start when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Syria last Wednesday.

Iran and Syria contest the all-Middle East Group Five along with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Clemente managed Spain from 1992 to 1998 and has coached several clubs including Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

Trapattoni to the emerald isle

Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner have stated that Giovanni Trapattoni is set to become Ireland manager once his contract with Salzburg ends in May after agreeing in principle to a deal.

The Irish FA (FAI) and Salzburg declined to comment on the report.

FAI chief executive John Delaney told reporters in Dublin on Monday he had spoken with Ireland's caretaker coach Don Givens, who heads the three-man panel appointed to find a new manager.

Delaney said the panel, known as the "three wise men", had conducted "various interviews" over the last couple of days.

"I am not going to say where they were or where they weren't," he said.

"I think we are entering the concluding phase of the search for the next Irish manager."

Delaney said the FAI would hold a board meeting on Wednesday.

Former manager Steve Staunton's contract was terminated in October after Ireland failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and the FAI has faced criticism over the protracted process to find a successor.

The Irish Examiner, without citing any sources, reported that former Italy coach Trapattoni met with the panel on Sunday evening in Austria.

It said Delaney would fly out to meet with Trapattoni's representatives and agree a contract.

The Irish Independent reported that barring a hitch, Trapattoni would be confirmed as manager by the end of the week with the FAI prepared to pay up to $2.91 million a year to secure his services.

Givens told the FAI on February 3 the work of the panel would be completed within 10 days with an appointment "imminent".

The 68 year old has won seven Serie A crowns with Juventus and Inter Milan, a German Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich and a Portuguese championship with Benfica.

His honours include European Cup, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup triumphs during his 10-year spell at Juventus and a second UEFA Cup title with Inter.

Source: Agencies