THE Scottish Football Association would have to pay £700,000 to sack Craig Levein following Scotland’s disastrous start to their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, according to reports.
• Former SFA chief executive believes Craig Levein should resign
• ‘£700,000 pay-off’ for Scotland’s highest-paid manager
• Scotland sit bottom of Group A in World Cup 2014 qualification
It has also been reported that the SFA could have terminated Levein’s contract after the failed Euro 2012 qualifiying campaign for nothing.
There is mounting pressure on the governing body to bring in a new manager following the back-to-back defeats in Wales and Belgium which leave Scotland rooted to the bottom of Group A with just two points from four matches.
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has given the strongest indication yet that Levein is likely to be dismissed by stating that he has already failed to meet the their expectations of the current campaign.
“The first thing to say is that we’re all bitterly disappointed with the results that we’ve had,” said Regan, “particularly the double-header over the last few days against Wales and Belgium. To find ourselves bottom of the group isn’t where any of us predicted we’d be at this stage of the competition.”
Regan will meet with the SFA board in the coming days, but if they decide to remove Levein, who is Scotland’s highest-paid manager in history and has two years of his contract remaining, it will cost them a significant sum of money.
Former SFA chief executive Gordon Smith, who was at the helm when Levein was hired in December 2009, believes the Scotland manager should walk away now to save the governing body from paying out.
“I think he should walk away with his dignity intact,” Smith said. “It would be a nice gesture because it would represent a financial saving for the game — at a time when money is crucial.
“He would get kudos for resigning, as opposed to being sacked. I think he has to realise things haven’t worked out and he will be leaving, one way or another.
Smith insists the SFA showed faith in Levein after Scotland narrowly missed out on a play-off place for Euro 2012, as there was an option to release him for free.
Smith said: “He is on a decent salary and, if he is sacked, there will be a pay-off. His contract had an option that was renewed after the last campaign.
“I believe our campaign is over. Most people felt we had to pick up something from our last two games. Two teams in our group now have 10 points and we have two.
“I believe we have a good group of players, so the common denominator is the manager and that is why we are not in a position to qualify.
“Now it will be down to the SFA themselves to make a decision.”
While the SFA will be aware of the financial cost involved in ditching Levein at this stage, they are also likely to take into account the prospect of dwindling attendances at Hampden for the upcoming friendlies against Luxembourg and Estonia, as well as the rest of the qualififying campaign, if the fans turn against the manager.
After the Belgium match Levein insisted he has no intention of stepping down.
Asked if he would consider resigning, Levein was unequivocal.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I’m very proud to be the Scottish national team manager and I want to continue to do so.”