Capello future secure - for now
After a few days of uncertainty, England coach Fabio Capello will board the plane for South Africa reassured over his future.
A phone call between new Club England chairman Sir David Richards and Capello on Monday was enough to ease the Italian's concerns over his contract after the sudden departure of Lord David Triesman as Football Association chairman.
Six weeks ago, Triesman and Capello shook hands on an agreement to remove a break clause in Capello's £5m-a-year deal that would have allowed both sides to terminate the contract after the World Cup in South Africa.
Lawyers have been working on the small print of the deal for the last 36 hours to ensure the marriage between Capello and the FA will continue up to 2012 as planned.
Capello's original deal included a two-week window after the World Cup which allowed either side to end the contract without paying full compensation - although sources at the FA and inside the Capello camp say the termination cost would still have been significant. The then FA chief executive Brian Barwick insisted on the two-week window to avoid another expensive payout to an England manager.
Capello (left) has been linked with the Inter Milan job. Photo: Getty Images
Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren received a total of £6m in compensation - despite only delivering failure for the national team.
By removing the break clause, the FA is gambling that Capello will take England beyond the World Cup quarter-finals and eclipse Eriksson's achievements in 2002 and 2006.
Should the 63-year-old fail spectacularly, the FA may question why it left itself exposed to another massive payout to remove an unwanted England manager.
With no obvious alternative lined up and Capello's successful track record in qualifying for South Africa, the FA has moved decisively, and perhaps wisely, to ensure his future is with England, especially with Inter Milan showing an interest in the former AC Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid coach.
But with all the cards seemingly in his favour, why did Capello ask for the two-year break clause to be removed before the World Cup when his stock may rise even further?
Is it a sign that he is questioning his own ability to take this group of England players on?
According to his advisers, it is a reflection of his desire to see out his contract and secure more job security. He did not want to be faced with a situation where the FA could sack him during the two-week post-World Cup window without a specific reason - as the clause would have allowed.
But it is impossible to ignore money as a key factor in all this. Capello's advisers say otherwise, of course, but in the event the FA do decide to sack him after a disastrous World Cup, then they will have to pay up the rest of his two-year deal - around £10m plus a further £2m in payments to backroom staff.
The other motivation for Capello was to get an early indication from the FA as to whether it wanted him to continue to 2012. If it didn't, he wanted to know now and not in August to give him the chance to find another job.
Even if the FA has now left itself more at risk, one area where the FA has saved itself money on the Capello deal is by only negotiating bonuses for qualifying for South Africa and reaching and winning the final in Johannesburg on 11 July.
Both Eriksson and McClaren were offered rewards for getting England through the group stages, last 16, quarter-finals and semis-finals.
A sign of the bar being set higher for a proven winner or another cautious move by an FA burned by the Italian's predecessors?
Whatever the reason, the £1m bonus Capello will receive for reaching the final is a cheque the FA will happily write if he manages to take England's underperforming players that far in South Africa.