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Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Worthington N Ireland talks to drag on to the New Year

Nigel Worthington's negotiations with the Irish FA over a new contract are set to drag on into the New Year

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington's negotiations with the Irish FA (IFA) over a new contract are likely to drag on into the New Year.

IFA president Raymond Kennedy said on Wednesday that he remained "confident" that a contract extension would be agreed with Worthington.

The manager's current deal runs out at the end of December.

Worthington has been linked with the vacant Sheffield Wednesday job but has not been approached by the club.

The Northern Ireland manager and the IFA president both made the draw for the JJB Sports Irish Cup in Belfast on Wednesday morning.

Kennedy indicated that he would be holding talks with Worthington after the draw but that the issue was unlikely to be resolved until the New Year.

Worthington, who said over the weekend that he would talk to Sheffield Wednesday if approached, said that discussions with the IFA were "ongoing and hopefully something can be resolved".

The Northern Ireland manager refused to divulge what the sticking-points are in the negotiations.

He reiterated his disappointment at the leaking last week of news that he had had held talks with IFA officials but said that the issue was "not a major problem".

"I have enjoyed good relations with the Irish FA since my appointment and enjoyed working with the players and hopefully we can come to an agreement where both parties are happy."


The IFA president denied that financial pressures following the recent six-figure payout to former association chief executive Howard Wells are impacting on the negotiations with Worthington.

"The IFA is not struggling," insisted Kennedy.

"There is no link between that (the Wells payout) and Nigel's contract."

Kennedy refused to make any further comment on the Wells issue, citing a confidentially agreement.

The IFA president also revealed that Northern Ireland are likely to take part in a South American tour in late May with Chile set to be among the opposition.

"We have been offered a two-match tour with games on 26 and 29 May with games against Chile and either Uruguay or Paraguay.

"It could a money-spinner for us and the chances of the tour happen are better than 50/50."

A match against the USA in late May has also been mooted although the South American games now seem a more likely prospect.

The IFA are also expected to confirm a friendly for 3 March with Belgium and Austria among countries keen to face Northern Ireland while a game in France against World Cup qualifiers Algeria was also revealed by Kennedy as a possibility.

"Nothing has been ruled out or ruled in at this stage," added the IFA president.

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see also
Worthington hits out at NI talks leak
14 Dec 09 |  Football
Worthington keen on Sheff Wed job
14 Dec 09 |  Sheff Wed
Worthington NI future 'in doubt'
11 Dec 09 |  Internationals
Sheff Wed part company with Laws
13 Dec 09 |  Sheff Wed
Laws downcast after defeat at Leicester
13 Dec 09 |  Sheff Wed
Leicester 3-0 Sheff Wed
12 Dec 09 |  Championship
Laws takes over as Sheff Wed boss
06 Nov 06 |  Sheff Wed

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