Ryan Giggs has stepped down as Wales manager with immediate effect.
Giggs has been on leave from his post since November 2020 and faces a domestic violence trial in Manchester on August 8.
The 48-year-old former Manchester United player 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.
The trial is set to last around two weeks from August 8.
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 deciding to stand down.
“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,” Giggs said in a statement.
He said he intends “to resume my managerial career at a later date”.
Full statement from Giggs reads:
“After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.
“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.
“As has been well publicised, 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.
“I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed some unforgettable moments during my three years in charge of the national team.
“I am proud of my record and will cherish those special times forever.
“It has been a pleasure to work with such well-established, senior professionals, and it has given me immense pride to watch so many young players progress into the national squad and flourish in the red colours of our country.
“I am touched and grateful to our passionate supporters for following us all over the world.
“To see nearly 3,000 of our loyal, travelling fans in Baku for the European Championship qualifier against Azerbaijan made me appreciate the sacrifices people make to watch our nation play.
“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.
“I would like to thank the chief executive Noel Mooney, his predecessor Jonathan Ford, the board of the FAW, plus the many people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to help our national team and for the support they have given me during this difficult time in my personal life.
“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date and I look forward to watching our national team alongside you in the stands.
“Finally, I would like to wish the players, the staff and the supporters at the FAW every success at the World Cup and in the future.
“Thank you and best wishes.” Ryan.
The Football Association of Wales said it “acknowledges the personal statement released by Ryan Giggs on 20 June 2022”.
A short statement read: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru Men’s National Team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football.
“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru Men’s National Team is on the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.”
Giggs, who won 64 Wales caps as a player, succeeded Chris Coleman as manager.
He had to win over many supporters who had questioned his commitment to the Wales cause during a stellar playing career at Old Trafford.
But Giggs managed that as Wales – fired by the brilliance of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey – qualified for Euro 2020, their second successive European Championship finals.
However, Euro 2020 was delayed by 12 months because of coronavirus and Page, who Giggs had appointed as his assistant in August 2019, ended up taking Wales to the finals last summer.
Page built on that work by steering Wales to second place behind Belgium in their 2020 World Cup qualification group.
Victories over Austria and Ukraine then secured Wales’ place at a World Cup for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals in Sweden in 1958.