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Koller takes tough Austria decision

Published: Wednesday 30 October 2013, 21.34CET
Marcel Koller has elected to lead Austria in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying despite being the favourite candidate to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld as coach of his native Switzerland.
Koller takes tough Austria decision
Marcel Koller will stay on as coach of Austria until December 2015 ©AFP/Getty Images
 
Published: Wednesday 30 October 2013, 21.34CET

Koller takes tough Austria decision

Marcel Koller has elected to lead Austria in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying despite being the favourite candidate to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld as coach of his native Switzerland.

Marcel Koller said he has passed up the opportunity to take charge of Switzerland, deciding instead to sign up for two more years as Austria coach.

The Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) announced that the 52-year-old, capped 56 times by Switzerland, has extended his contract until December 2015 – with a clause in the deal ensuring that it will span the following summer should Austria qualify for UEFA EURO 2016. Koller had been the favourite to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland coach following the former FC Bayern München boss's announcement he will retire after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

"This was the most difficult decision I have had to make in my whole footballing career," Koller said. "I started this project with the ÖFB two years ago and I really want to keep going." ÖFB president Leo Windtner added: "This development is very positive for the team, the association and our fans. We'll now focus on qualification for the finals in France, and with this great coach we know we have a good chance to make it."

Former Grasshopper Club midfielder Koller took the Austria helm in 2011, having previously coached FC Wil 1900, FC St Gallen and Grasshoppers in Switzerland, as well as German sides 1. FC Köln and VfL Bochum 1848.

Last updated: 19/03/14 18.53CET

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