Marc Wilmots leaves Iran without signing coaching deal

The Belgian could return to Tehran if he reaches an agreement with Iran’s football federation.

Marc Wilmots (in picture) is expected to replace Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz.   -  AFP

Former Ivory Coast and Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has left Iran without signing the anticipated contract to coach the country’s national team, semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Friday.

The former Belgian striker had arrived in Iran on Wednesday and was expected to sign a USD 1.2 million (EUR 1 million) a year deal until the end of the 2022 World Cup. The 50-year-old, who was capped 70 times for his country, “reviewed Iran’s football facilities and had talks with Mehdi Taj,” Iran’s football federation president, according to ISNA.

He left on Thursday night after watching the Iran pro-league finals match between Persepolis F.C. and Pars Jonoubi Jam.

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“If the two sides reach an agreement, Wilmots will return to Tehran to sign the contract and start his work,” ISNA said.

Wilmots is expected to replace Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz who stepped down after eight years in charge in January following Iran’s semifinal exit in the Asian Cup when it went down 3-0 to Japan. He led Iran to two World Cup finals and extended his contract to 2019 after the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Wilmots guided Belgium into the 2014 World Cup during his stint as coach with the team between 2012-2016.

He took charge of Ivory Coast in 2017 but parted company after failing to qualify the West African nation for the 2018 World Cup.

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