Bielsa resigns as Chile’s national football coach

Saturday, February 5, 2011

SANTIAGO - The popular Argentine coach of Chile’s national football team, Marcelo Bielsa, announced his resignation after months of speculation about his future with the team and placed the blame on the head of the Chilean National Football Association.

“The reason for my resignation is the behaviour of Sergio Jadue,” Bielsa said late Friday in Santiago, referring to the association’s president.

The announcement was made two days after Jadue insisted Bielsa would stay on after he missed a deadline to submit his resignation.

Bielsa, 55, has been Chile’s coach for three and a half years and guided the national team to the second round of last year’s World Cup in South Africa with an attack style of football that won him a loyal following among Chilean fans.

Some of those supporters demonstrated outside Friday’s press conference for him to remain the national trainer.

Bielsa charged Jadue with lying publicly when he alleged that Bielsa had arranged for a friendly with Paraguay to be cancelled, imposed conditions on a further tenure as coach and made more than two million dollars per year. Bielsa also charged the president with treating his colleagues poorly.

He admitted that the uncertainty about his fate had turned into a melodrama. “I agree and regret that it turned into a soap opera, but sincerely, I do not feel responsible for that,” he said.

His resignation had been expected since last year. He said then that he would step down after Spaniard Jorge Segovia was named the president of the Chilean association, saying he could not work under him. But Segovia was later blocked from taking over, leaving Jadue to take the reigns.

The opening for coach comes less than five months before Chile is to compete in the Copa America.

Filed under: Football

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