Euro 2004: Speculation aboutRehhagel intensifies

6th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 July 2004 , ATHENS -Euro 2004 champions Greece were on Tuesday received by the nation's President Konstantinos Stefanopoulos amid speculation about the future of their German coach Otto Rehhagel. Greek television revealed on Tuesday that Rehhagel acted irritated the previous night when confronted with the news that he had extended his contract until 2006 by two years until 2008. "The president of EPO (national football federation) told me I had signed until 2008. But I know nothing about it," the Greek

6 July 2004

ATHENS  -Euro 2004 champions Greece were on Tuesday received by the nation's President Konstantinos Stefanopoulos amid speculation about the future of their German coach Otto Rehhagel.

Greek television revealed on Tuesday that Rehhagel acted irritated the previous night when confronted with the news that he had extended his contract until 2006 by two years until 2008.

"The president of EPO (national football federation) told me I had signed until 2008. But I know nothing about it," the Greek TV microphones overheard Rehhagel telling Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis on Monday.

Karamanlis and Stefanopoulos urged Rehhagel to stay in Greece and not return to his native Germany where he is emerging as the top contender for the national team job after Rudi Voeller's resignation.

Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia joked: "We will tie you to the roof of the Olympic stadium to make you stay here."

But Karamanlis and Stefanopoulos also said that Rehhagel's achievement with the team will never be forgotten should he decide to accept the tempting Germany job ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"Even if he decides to leave we will always think of him, love him and respect him," said Stefanopoulos.

He added towards Rehhagel: "Otto Rehhagel, who was not Greek. But you have now become more than just an ordinary Greek."

Rehhagel will have to stay at least for a little while in Greece because radio reports said that the team has by now received more than 100 invitations from all parts of the country.

"The celebrations will seemingly never end," said one member of the Greek federation.

The festivities started on Monday night on the team's return from Portugal where they had created one of the biggest upsets in football history by lifting the Euro trophy.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets as it took the team bus three hours to cover the 30 kilometres distance from the airport to the Panatinaikon stadium, the site of the 1896 Olympics which until Monday had only seen receptions for Greek Olympic champions.

In total 45,000 fans were crammed into the marble stadium in the heart of Athens, with another 50,000 outside the arena. Some fans broke through the barriers but the police had nothing but praise for the overjoyed supporters.

"The people simply celebrated passionately and without alcohol. For us it was the easiest and most trouble-free night in our professional life," said one policeman.

DPA

Subject: German news

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