Loew says his future after World Cup is open


WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Germany coach Joachim Loew says his future after the World Cup remains open, although the president of the country's football federation says he is ready to keep Loew in the job.

Talks about extending the contract of Loew and his staff, long considered a formality, collapsed unexpectedly Thursday and will not be resumed until after the June 11-July 11 World Cup in South Africa. The failure of the talks exposed a deepening rift between the federation (DFB) and Loew as the three-time champion prepares for the tournament.

Loew said his priority now was to concentrate on getting ready for the World Cup and that he will not consider his future until the tournament is over.

"First we have to see if we'll still be asked and if we would still be ready to talk," Loew said.

DFB president Theo Zwanziger said he still considered Loew his top candidate for the job of coach.

"I want to keep him. If we have a successful World Cup, I will talk to him. If we don't, I will still talk to him," Zwanziger told the Sueddeutsche newspaper. "He remains my first choice."

Loew and Zwanziger met in Frankfurt before flying to Warsaw, where they attended Sunday's draw for the qualifying round for the 2012 European Championship. But Loew may not be in charge by the time the qualifying stars in September.

Loew described the meeting as "brief" and said there had been "irritations and interpretations" after the talks broke down Thursday.

The DFB has not given precise reasons why the talks collapsed but German media reports say Loew and national team manager Oliver Bierhoff, a member of Loew's staff, had demanded "signing fees" equivalent to an annual salary for Loew and his entire staff.

Bierhoff also reportedly wanted to be able to pick the next coach, something the DFB had balked at.

"It's our right to make one or two demands. People who know us know that it's not about power or greed, but that it's about the development of the team.

"I am personally irritated that things have become public that were discussed between us," Loew told reporters in Warsaw.

Zwanziger had said in December that he and Loew had "shaken hands" on a new contract for Loew when the current deal expires after the World Cup. But Loew had personally never confirmed that it was a done deal, insisting that some details still had to be settled. Franz Beckenbauer, member of the DFB's board and arguably the most influential figure in German football, had little understanding for demands to give Bierhoff the right of veto in choosing the next coach.

"Do they want to take over the DFB?" Beckenbauer asked rhetorically in Bild newspaper.

Many Bundesliga coaches urged Loew and the DFB to settle their dispute soon, before the issue starts overshadowing preparations for the World Cup.

Loew was Juergen Klinsmann's assistant and took over when Klinsmann quit after the 2006 World Cup at home and Germany's third-place finish. In its first big tournament under Loew, Germany was runner-up at the Euro 2008.

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