FA: England won’t let USWNT poach Wiegman


SYDNEY, Australia — England will reject any approach for Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman from rival countries amid reported interest from the United States, the Football Association’s CEO Mark Bullingham said on Thursday.

Wiegman has guided England to the World Cup final, where they’ll face Spain on Sunday.

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It’s her fourth major tournament final on the bounce, having won the 2017 Euros with the Netherlands, taken them to the 2019 World Cup final and then won the Euros last summer with England.

It’s an incredible record, and the FA are keen to sit down with Wiegman after this tournament to see if she wants to extend her contract beyond the current deal which lasts through to 2025.

But with sources telling ESPN USWNT manager Vlatko Andonovski is expected to resign from his post on Thursday, the FA is braced for interest in Wiegman, but says it will rebuff any approach for her.

“We’ve seen lots of rumours, and look, she is a special talent,” Bullingham said. “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. So from our side, she’s someone we’d like to have with us for a very long time.”

When asked if they’d reject any approach for Wiegman, Bullingham said, “Yup, 100%.”

He added: “It is not about money. We are very, very happy with her and we feel she is happy.”

Wiegman’s contract is up in 2025 after the next Euros and Bullingham will sit down with the Lionesses manager after the World Cup to look at extending that deal.

“We’ve always said we’d get to it after a tournament,” he said. “We’ve had good conversations after the Euros, there will be an appropriate time to do it.

“We’ve got a bit of time because obviously she’s contracted to 2025, and she’ll obviously want to have a decent holiday after this. But all I’ll say is we’re massive fans of her. We believe she’s happy, and we’d love to continue working with her for a long time.”

The FA will also continue discussions with the Lionesses over bonus payments after the tournament.

The England team issued a collective statement prior to the World Cup saying they were “disappointed” discussions had not progressed with the FA over bonuses and commercial structures.

“We’re sorting it after the tournament,” Bullingham said. “I think they have a very strong case before [the tournament], a very strong case after [the World Cup] but the reality is, there’s a discussion to be had.

“There wasn’t a lot of time before the tournament, FIFA announced the prize money very late and a completely different model that led to a different type of discussion so it just meant there wasn’t a lot of time. It’s more time being an issue rather than anything else.

“It wasn’t an issue on bargaining position, it was more an issue on time and working through this new model, so, I think we’ll get to a good resolution.”

And the FA has confirmed there are plans to honour the Lionesses with a statue outside Wembley.

“In terms of statues it’s something we are looking at post Euros [2022], we’ve made progress on that and it would be right to have something to commemorate that success outside Wembley,” Bullingham said.

“Our starting point was more for plans around a collective but we’ll see what design ideas come up. And you can imagine the iconic images that came out of the Euros. There’s some brilliant things which could be produced. Our starting point is that it’s a brilliant team.”

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