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Reja confirms he will coach Lazio

9 February 2010 22:55

ZAGREB (AFP) - Edoardo 'Edy' Reja, currently the coach of Croatian First Division side Hajduk Split, on Tuesday confirmed press reports that he was to replace Davide Ballardini as Lazio boss.

"I've been weighing it up for a long time, but eventually I gave my word to Lazio's president. Yes, I'm leaving for Rome," Reja told journalists on a ferry to Split, on the central Adriatic coast.

"When they've been calling me from Italy during the past few months. I was refusing the offers, I was not even thinking about them. However, Lazio is too important a challenge," the 64-year-old added.

"It was hard for me to reach this decision ... but when the most important people from the city of Rome, the club of Lazio call you it is difficult to refuse.

"I've decided to take up this challenge," said Reja, who took over as Hajduk Split coach last August after having been fired by Napoli last season.

Local media reported that the Croatian club is receive at least 150,000 euros in damages, while Reja will be paid 1.5 million euros a year by Lazio.

Ballardini's team dropped into the relegation zone on Sunday after a 1-0 home defeat to Catania and president Claudio Lotito has reportedly decided to take action.

There has been no official confirmation from Lazio but the Italian press report that Ballardini has been told of his sacking.

Lazio were forced to train indoors on Tuesday afternoon after between 300 and 400 protesting fans scaled a fence and entered their training complex.

Up to 1,000 fans had been protesting outside the training ground and some clashed with police, resulting in five arrests and three people being injured.

Players had just gone outside to begin training when fans broke through the cordons so police advised them to train inside for security reasons.

It is only 10 years since Lazio were Serie A champions and last season they lifted the Coppa Italia.

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