FA: Wiegman approaches from rival nations would be rejected

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has warned off rival nations from making an approach for Sarina Wiegman after leading the Lionesses to the Women’s World Cup final.

The 53-year-old’s stock as a serial winner has risen steadily since securing the European championship trophy with her native Netherlands in 2017, then doing the same with England last summer.

She has now guided England to a first-ever Women’s World Cup final, in the process becoming the only manager to do so with two different nations in the showpiece after steering her home country to the same stage four years ago.

Vlatko Andonovski has stepped down as coach of the United States after the four-time champions produced their worst-ever World Cup performance in Australia, exiting in the round of 16.

Jill Ellis, who was in charge of the US winning campaigns in 2015 and 2019, told reporters in Sydney on Thursday that while a search for a replacement should include diverse candidates, the new coach’s gender should not be the decisive factor.

Sarina Wiegman guided England to the World Cup final
Wiegman has guided England to the World Cup final

Asked if the FA would reject an approach should the United States come courting the three-time FIFA Best award winner, Bullingham instantly replied: “100 per cent. It is not about money. We are very, very happy with her and we feel she is happy.

“We’ve seen lots of rumours, and look, she is a special talent. We know that. From our side, she’s obviously contracted through until 2025. We think she’s doing a great job. We’re obviously huge supporters of her and I think hopefully she feels the same way.”

Bullingham said the FA would wait until after Wiegman takes a well-deserved post-tournament holiday before striking up any conversations about extending her stay.

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Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis has backed the Lionesses’ to overcome Spain in the World Cup final and lift the trophy for the first time

While Bullingham believes Wiegman could have any job in football, he admitted it could still be some time before an England women’s manager would be compensated equally to their men’s counterpart.

He added: “I think over time, I think there’s where you’ve got to get to. If you look at the disparity in the market and the income coming in, that’s why you’ve got a difference.

“I would say that Sarina is, within the market she operates, well-paid. And if you look at the comparison in the men’s game, it’s a different market. I really want those markets to merge, over time, and I think that’s where you’ve got to go, but we’re not there yet.”

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England boss Sarina Wiegman sits down with Sky Sports News’ Anton Toloui to discuss the Lionesses’ World Cup chances, how they’ll cope without key absentees and the growth of the women’s game

Former National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) coach Andonovski took the reins in 2019 after the US collected a second consecutive world title but they have failed to keep that momentum going.

He led the team to bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 but injuries hindered a largely inexperienced US side at this year’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia and they lost to Sweden 5-4 on penalties in the knockout stage.

“It’s been the honour of my life to coach the talented, hard-working players of the USWNT for the past four years,” Andonovski, 46, said in a statement.

“While we are all disappointed by the outcome at this year’s World Cup, I am immensely proud of the progress this team has made, the support they’ve shown for each other, and the inspiration they’ve provided for players around the world.”

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