Fernandez given a week to settle debts

By Simon Griver, February 24, 2011

The Israel FA has given national team manager Luis Fernandez until March 4 to have his suspension by Fifa revoked.

Fifa suspended Fernandez last week because he owes Qatari club Al Rayyan €400,000 compensation for breaking his contract when he took charge at Betar Jerusalem in 2005.

Fernandez said: "The matter is now the subject of litigation and I respect Fifa's decision. My lawyers say I was made a victim."

If the Frenchman fails to overturn the punishment, then the JC understands that Israel Under 21 manager Guy Luzon will take charge of the national team for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers at home to Latvia and Georgia.

Fernandez insists that the figure was paid into a Swiss bank account by Betar owner Arkady Gaydamak but he claims that intermediaries stole the money instead of passing it on.

IFA chairman Avi Luzon has emphasised it was the Frenchman's responsibility to resolve the issue.

Fernandez would appear to have little choice but to pay the Qataris as all his previous appeals to Fifa have failed, and it remains unclear whether he actually has the funds available.

Luzon said: "I'm sure that Luis will solve his problems and will be able to completely dedicate himself to preparing the national team for its important games in March."

    Last updated: 3:12pm, February 24 2011