Scolari withdraws England job candidacy

April 28, 2006

LISBON, April 28 (Reuters) - Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said on Friday he had withdrawn from the running to become England manager.

In a news conference televised from Portugal's World Cup training site in Germany, Scolari said his plans would be open after July 31 when his contract with the Portuguese Football Federation ran out.

"There are 20 reporters outside my house now," he said. "If that is part of another culture, it is not part of my culture. I am not the coach, and will not be (England's) coach."

He said his decision was linked to his feelings for Portugal and the relentless media pressure since his name surfaced two days ago as a likely candidate to succeed Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson as England's manager.

England are looking to replace Eriksson, the country's first foreign manager, who will leave after the World Cup. Scolari's contract with Portugal expires after the finals in Germany.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick travelled to Lisbon on Wednesday for a meeting with Scolari which the Brazilian later described as "a simple talk, informal and with the consent of the Portuguese Football Federation."

The 57-year-old coach, who led Brazil to their 2002 World Cup triumph and took Portugal to the final of Euro 2004, knocking out England on both occasions, had become a surprise front-runner.

English favourite Steve McClaren of Middlesbrough, Charlton's Alan Curbishley and Bolton's Sam Allardyce, along with Northern Irishman Martin O'Neill, were early favourites -- and will now return to centre stage.

Media intrusion has frequently been a cause of complaint by Eriksson during his tenure.