Ryan Giggs has quit as Wales manager with immediate effect, saying he doesn’t want his upcoming domestic abuse trial to destabilize the national team ahead of his first World Cup appearance since 1958.
Manchester United great has been on leave since November 2020, with his assistant, Robert Page, guiding the Welsh to the World Cup in Qatar via the European qualifiers this month.
Giggs is accused of controlling and coercive behavior against his former girlfriend from August 2017 to November 2020. He is also accused of assaulting her and her sister. The trial is due to begin on August 8.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead my country,” Giggs said on Monday, “but it is only right that the Wales FA, coaching staff and players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation surrounding their head coach’s position.” Giggs pleaded not guilty to the charges. A backlog of cases at Manchester Crown Court delayed the start of the trial.
“While I am confident in our legal proceedings, I had hoped the case would be heard sooner to allow me to resume my leadership responsibilities,” he said. “Through no one’s fault, the case was delayed.
“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilized or compromised in any way by the continued interest around this matter.” Giggs played a record 963 times for Man United before retiring in 2014. He also made 64 appearances for Wales and was hired as their national team coach in January 2018.
Giggs qualified Wales for the final European Championship, which was delayed 12 months to 2021 due to the pandemic. Page led the Welsh in this tournament.
“I’ve been blessed with some unforgettable moments in my three years leading the national team,” Giggs said. “I’m proud of my record and will cherish those special moments forever.” ‘ he added, ‘that we cannot continue this journey together as I believe this extraordinary group will do the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.’ Giggs said he intended to resume his managerial career “at a later date”. “And I can’t wait to see our national team alongside you in the stands.” The Football Association of Wales thanked Giggs, saying it “appreciates the decision he has made which is in the best interest of Welsh football”.
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