Ryan Giggs has resigned as Wales manager ahead of his domestic violence trial.
Giggs has been on leave from his post since November 2020 and faces a court trial in Manchester on August 8.
“After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect,” he said last night.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.”
The 48-year-old former Manchester United star is accused of controlling and coercive behaviour against his former girlfriend Kate Greville between August 2017 and November 2020.
Giggs is also accused of assaulting Ms Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and of the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on November 1, 2020.
Giggs has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“As has been well publicised,” Giggs said. “I have pleaded not guilty to the criminal accusations being heard at Manchester Crown Court.
“Whilst I am confident in our judicial process, I had hoped that the case would have been heard earlier to enable me to resume my managerial responsibilities.
“Through nobody’s fault the case has been delayed.
“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.”
Giggs, who was appointed Wales manager in January 2018, decided to stand down after Wales beat Ukraine in their World Cup play-off final in Cardiff two weeks ago.
Robert Page has led Wales to their first World Cup in 64 years in Giggs’ absence. Page will be in charge in Qatar with Giggs expected to issue a statement to confirm his decision later this week.
Page has been a huge success since first standing in for Giggs, overseeing last summer’s European Championship campaign – in which Wales made it to the knockout stages – and earning the trust of the squad.
Page is a popular figure with players and fans, and his development of a series of Welsh youngsters has created a sense of optimism around the national team.
Confirmation that Giggs intends to stand down will provide some clarity on the Welsh managerial position ahead of the World Cup, as well as strengthening Page’s own position and authority within the camp.
A major reason for Page’s success has been his careful management of key players such as Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale.
Page has been conscious that Bale and Ramsey have specific fitness demands and has consistently allowed them the freedom to manage their own bodies. Such freedom has not always been granted to the players at club level, and Wales have been repaid by a series of excellent performances by their star players during Page’s tenure.