Estonia's FC Levadia Maardu will part ways with their Italian coach Franco Pancheri, and replace him with assistant Tarmo Rüütli, the former FC Flora and Estonia coach.
Six months in charge
Levadia Maardu agreed a settlement today with Pancheri who will stand down officially on Monday after six months in charge. Pancheri was appointed in early December last year on a two-year contract after Finnish coach Pasi Rautiainen decided to leave for family reasons. The former Internazionale FC player, 45, had previously worked as a youth coach at the San Siro for ten years.
Pancheri started the Meistriliiga season with three straight wins, but that bright start proved a false dawn. Levadia Maardu were knocked out of the Estonian Cup in April by virtually their own reserve team, FC Levadia Tallinn, and they have now gone five league games without a win. The final straw appears to have been the 4-1 defeat by JK Tulevik Viljandi.
Levadia's managing director, Indrek Petersoo, told uefa.com: "It is no secret that Pancheri was an expensive coach and we not only demanded results, but also quality football. We did not get what we wanted and in a situation where a domestic coach might have got more time, we came to this agreement with the coach."
UEFA Cup test
The future for Levadia Maardu is the 48-year-old Rüütli, who will be assisted by former Estonian international Igor Prins in a player-coach's role. Levadia Maardu finished second in Estonia last season and so will play in the UEFA Cup qualifying round against Croatia's NK Varteks.
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