Russian Football Union (RFU) chief Nikolai Tolstykh has admitted that national coach Fabio Capello would be highly unlikely to continue in the job if his team failed to qualify for Euro 2016, local media reported on Monday.

“The RFU has enough possibilities to cancel Capello’s contract,” the website quoted Tolstykh as saying.

“The contract provides the RFU with the opportunity to sack the coach in case of the team’s poor results. The team’s failure to make it into the Euro 2016 finals will be seen as a breach of his contract.

“But we consider it to be incorrect to stress these conditions ahead of the national team’s crucial matches in Euro 2016 qualifying.”

Last year the 68-year-old Italian, who is reportedly the world’s highest paid coach, signed a lucrative new contract to stay in the job through to the end of the 2018 World Cup, which Russia will host.

However, he was involved in a six-month long pay dispute with the RFU before billionaire Alisher Usmanov, a shareholder at English Premier League club Arsenal, stepped in to settle 400 million roubles ($5.8 million) in unpaid wages earlier this month.

Capello was criticised after Russia were knocked out at the group stage of last year’s World Cup in Brazil without winning a game, and only the backing of the country’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko prevented the former England manager from losing his job.

However, Russia have started their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in underwhelming fashion, drawing at home to Moldova and losing in Austria to leave them with just five points from four games in Group G, five points fewer than leaders Austria.

“The team loses self-confidence while we drop down the FIFA rankings,” Mutko said after Russia went down 1-0 in Austria in November. “The time has come to solve our problems”

Russia go to Montenegro in their next Euro 2016 qualifier on March 27. – Agence France-Presse

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