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Monday, February 1, 1999 Published at 22:47 GMT

Sport: Football

Hoddle awaits fate

Glenn Hoddle: "I didn't say those things"

England coach Glenn Hoddle will hear on Tuesday whether he is to be sacked as the row continues over his reported remarks about people with disabilities.

Tony Blair: "Let us hear his explanation"
A 15-man Football Association panel began discussing his fate on Monday - while Hoddle insisted he was not prepared to resign.

The panel's deliberations are continuing with a statement expected around lunchtime.

Hoddle's grip on his job is in doubt after the prime minister joined the chorus of disapproval over views attributed to the coach that disabled people were paying for the sins of a previous life.

The FA's David Davies: "The conversations will go on"
His agent Dennis Roach said he planned to issue a writ for libel against The Times newspaper, which printed the comments in an interview at the weekend.

"The writ is basically dissatisfaction with what has been written," Mr Roach said.

The newspaper is standing by its story, saying it is "amazed and appalled" at Hoddle's denial.

Kevin Gearey: "Something is going to happen in the next twenty four hours"
Earlier Hoddle said: "I'm not going to resign over this because at the end of the day I didn't say those things.

"It (couldn't be) further from the truth from what I believe about the handicapped and the disabled," he told ITN.

"The work that I've done with them over 25 to 26 years is there for everyone to see. And there's a lot of things privately that I'm not going to get involved in because I don't feel it's the right time to bring that out."

BBC Sports correspondent Neil Bennett: "Pundits and politicians have been calling for his head"
Tony Blair said Hoddle should resign if it is proved he made the controversial comments.

The prime minister, speaking on ITV's This Morning with Richard and Judy, said if Hoddle had made the comments, which were included in a Times interview, "it would be very difficult for him to stay".

He added: "If he said what he is reported to have said in the way he is reported to have said it then I think that was very wrong."

[ image: Hoddle shares controversial beliefs with Eileen Drewery]
Hoddle shares controversial beliefs with Eileen Drewery
Margaret Hodge, the minister with responsibility for disabled people, joined those calling for Hoddle to step down, saying it was "inappropriate" for him to hold the position of England coach.

But faith healer Eileen Drewery, who is widely regarded as Hoddle's spiritual mentor, defended the coach, saying she believed he had been treated "worse than Saddam Hussein" over the interview.

The FA's David Davies: "We want assurances from Glenn"
"I am so distressed to think that this has gone out the wrong way and I know the man is so compassionate and cares so much and puts himself out and raises money," she told GMTV. "He has offered so much to invalids I can't tell you."

The Nationwide Building Society has warned the FA it could hit the organisation in the pocket over the row.

The society announced an estimated £15m sponsorship of England just two weeks ago, and has acted to dissociate itself from Hoddle's remarks.

BBC Football correspondent Mike Ingham: "For the FA, this will be seen as the last straw"
Nationwide's Mike Lazenby called for the manager "to ensure that his personal views are not confused with those of the England team or its sponsors".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If he did repeat these comments I think we would need to talk very seriously with the FA about the implications."

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