Giovanni Trapattoni has been sacked as manager of the Irish football team – and Martin O’Neill is the red hot favourite to replace him.
The FAI issued a statement on Wednesday morning announcing their decision to end Trapattoni’s reign ‘by mutual consent’.
But those close to the story understand that Trap has effectively been sacked and his contract terminated eight months ahead of schedule.
Ireland play Germany and Kazakhstan next month with O’Neill’s availability, he is still out of work after he was sacked by Sunderland, has him top of the bookies list.
Trapattoni’s fate was sealed when Austria defeated Ireland 1-0 in Vienna on Tuesday night to end the World Cup dream.
The Italian was adamant afterwards that he was going nowhere and wanted a new contract.
But the FAI swiftly cancelled a planned press conference in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon and then made their announcement on Wednesday morning.
A statement from the FAI said: “The Football Association of Ireland, Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli today (September 11) announced that following an amicable meeting this morning, they have parted company by mutual consent.”
Trapattoni said in the statement: “I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here which has always meant a lot to us.
“We leave this country with emotion because we understand the Irish supporters who have a well-deserved international reputation and they have our utmost respect.
“I would like to thank John Delaney, Paddy McCaul, Michael Cody and the FAI Board for their support and friendship over the last five and a half years.
“I would also want to thank all FAI staff members, including the backroom team and the players who have been great to work with during the last three campaigns.
“I wish them well in the future and hope that the job we have done leaves everything in a good place for my successor to take over.”
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney said: “We thank Giovanni Trapattoni, Marco Tardelli and Franco Rossi for the last five and a half years during which we qualified for our first major tournament in ten years and were close to qualification for 2010 World Cup in South Africa after the play-off in France.
“This particular World Cup campaign has been disappointing but Giovanni leaves us with a group of good young players which should form the basis of the squad that the new manager will use for the European Championships in France 2016 when 24 teams qualify.”
The statement concluded that the board of the FAI will meet in due course to discuss the process in relation to the appointment of a new manager.