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Wednesday, February 3, 1999 Published at 04:41 GMT

Sport: Football

Hoddle sacked

Glenn Hoddle: Leaves the job after two-and-a-half years

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Glenn Hoddle has lost his job as England manager after his comments about disabled people.

The Hoddle File

Hoddle, who is replaced by former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson for next week's friendly against World Champions France, apologised for a "serious error of judgement".

FA Executive Director David Davies told a chaotic news conference: "The FA and Glenn Hoddle have agreed to terminate Glenn's contract.

BBC Sports Correspondent Kevin Gearey: "The media frenzy pursued him to the end"
"After more than 24 hours of meetings and discussions it became apparent to all those concerned that this was the right decision for England football.

"The position had become increasingly untenable for both the FA and Glenn Hoddle, who accepts he made a serious error of judgement and of course he has apologised.

"The past few days have been painful for everyone involved but that is as nothing compared to any offence caused to disabled people in our community and our country.

"This was not what Glenn intended."

'I apologise'

Glenn Hoddle: "I accept I made a serious error of judgement"
Later Hoddle said: "I accept I made a serious error of judgement in an interview which caused misunderstanding and pain to a number of people.

"This was never my intention and for this I apologise.

"My sincere thanks for the support goes to loved ones, family, friends and media colleagues who have worked with me over the past few days to try and establish the truth.

"My personal thanks go to my staff, colleagues and in particular the players with whom I have worked over the past two years as England coach.

"I thank them deeply."

Hoddle concluded his brief statement by wishing Wilkinson and his former assistant John Gorman good luck for the friendly against France at Wembley next week.

'Nothing to hide'

Hoddle, who had been in the job for two-and-a-half years, attended the crisis meeting at the Football Association's Lancaster Gate headquarters on Tuesday to learn his fate.

He had ruled out resigning over his comments in last Saturday's Times, interpreted as suggesting disabled people were being made to pay for the sins of past lives.

"You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains," he was quoted as saying.

"Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime.

"I have nothing to hide about that. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow, you have to reap."

Before the FA's decision, he said his comments had been misinterpreted and he was considering legal action against The Times, which is standing by its story.

Sporting triumphs

Sports Minister Tony Banks said: "It is a personal tragedy that Glenn Hoddle's career as England coach has ended in this fashion.

"He is a decent man but his views as expressed caused distress to many disabled sports men and women who have achieved so many sporting triumphs for the country."

Chairman of the Football Task Force David Mellor added: "I take no pleasure in the demise of Glenn Hoddle but I do not think he gave the FA any choice.

"His personal beliefs have become inextricably linked with his job. English football was being dragged down by Glenn Hoddle's bizarre beliefs."

But Hoddle's controversial faith healer Eileen Drewery defended him, saying he had been forced out by a media "witch-hunt".

"They have done this not just to Glenn, they have done it to other England managers," she said.

"As far as I'm concerned we don't deserve him, we have never treated him right in this country. He has been given a very raw deal."

'Absolute disgrace'

The news conference announcing Hoddle's departure was interrupted by a protester screaming abuse. He later identified himself as Gary, from Liskeard, Cornwall, but living in Wimbledon, south-west London.

The labourer, who was wearing a white Liverpool away shirt, told reporters: "What Glenn Hoddle has done is out of order, he's an absolute disgrace to English football."

Admitting he had had "a few drinks", he added: "I've got disabled relatives and Hoddle should have been sacked on the spot as soon as he said it."

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