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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 24, 2006

Scolari ignores England talk to concentrate on Portugal

The Football Association have been told to forget about Luiz Felipe Scolari and focus on their World Cup challenge.

The message came from Scolari's agent Acaz Felleger, who insists the Brazilian will not consider becoming England manager until the tournament has ended.

Portugal boss Scolari responded to speculation that he is now the hot favourite to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson by insisting he has not even had an interview with the FA.

The latest episode in the saga proved the most confusing to date but the FA have promised fans the selection process is still firmly on track.

Scolari's agent Felleger said: 'We are two months away from the World Cup and Luiz Felipe Scolari is focused on his job in Portugal.

'He just needs to do a good World Cup and after this he might talk about his future.

'If the FA are really interested to sign him they should have been focused on their work for the World Cup like Felipe Scolari is at the moment.

'England must think first of this World Cup and then of other issues '

Scolari is playing the issue down. He has a contract with the Portuguese FA until after the World Cup and, understandably, does not want to appear distracted.

The Brazilian said: 'I am the Portugal coach and I am only thinking and speaking about Portugal until the last day of the World Cup.

'I don't have an interview. I spoke with the BBC, two or three months ago, and I said that I am happy that they are thinking about me.

'But I have a contract with Portugal and I don't want to talk more about any contract until the last day of my job in Portugal.'

The Brazilian found himself at the centre of attention today after rumours that he had passed Steve McClaren in the race.

Bookmakers slashed the odds on the Brazilian but FA director of communications Adrian Bevington insisted there was no last-minute change of heart from the selection panel.

Bevington said: 'Because of the nature of the role, there are huge levels of interest which have led to incredible levels of speculation.

'I am sure by the end of the process, when we make an announcement, every newspaper will be able to say they have said who the next manager will be.

'Unfortunately for the fans, they have had to read that certain people have been certainties for the job at different stages of the process through speculation.

'But we are not far away now and are looking forward to informing fans and the media who it will be as soon as we can.

'We are almost there but until we approach someone to take the job which we haven't we can't say anything.'

'Clearly we have to discuss contractual matters and have any appointment ratified by the board.

'If there's a club involved we have to discuss compensation and notify any unsuccessful candidates.

'But it's important to stress no firm decision has been made.'

Bevington played down criticism about the length of the process.

'We are comfortable with the procedure we have adopted.

'Before we began the process of discussing the role with individuals we made it clear publicly that we would look to make an announcement before the World Cup.

'We are not even at that stage yet. We made it very clear to clubs and individuals before we sat down with people that this process would continue for a couple of months.

'We felt it imperative that we had strong representation from the professional game on the nominations group and that we did not leave any stone unturned. We are very comfortable with that.'