Mexico coach Herrera sacked for alleged journalist assault

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The coach is accused of punching a reporter in the neck following his team’s Gold Cup final win over Jamaica and it has cost him his job

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has been sacked over assault allegations in the aftermath of their Gold Cup triumph.

El Tri defeated Jamaica 1-0 in the Gold Cup final on Sunday having reached the showpiece match in controversial circumstances, defeating Panama and Costa Rica via contentious penalty decisions late in the games.

Less than 24 hours after being crowned kings of Concacaf, Herrera is alleged to have punched TV Azteca journalist Christian Martinoli in the neck at Philadelphia International Airport.

Following Mexico football association (FMF) deliberations on Tuesday, incoming president Decio de Maria revealed the coach’s behaviour had cost him his job irrespective of their continental success.

“After listening to all my colleagues who are part of this federation, and reasoning I have made the decision to take Miguel Herrera out of the national team,” he said in a statement on behalf of the FMF.

“It is not a simple decision, but it is the correct one. Matches never finish and as public figures we have to keep that in mind.

“Everyone has had an opinion but, as I said, our values have to be kept and no one can be above the type of situation we saw on Monday at the Philadelphia airport.”

TV Azteca had slammed Herrera’s reaction to being quizzed by their reporters and called on those at the top of Mexico’s footballing food chain to react against the coach.

“The behaviour of the coach of the national team is strange to us and worries us enormously,” the statement read. “The FMF shouldn’t allow attacks like that suffered by our partner Christian Martinoli at the hands of Herrera.

“Our country needs brave journalists, who are able to share their opinions and who enjoy the freedom of doing so without being attacked. Mexico needs more liberty, more public debate and less violence.”

Philadelphia International Airport had denied there was any video footage of the alleged assault, which Mexican journalist Martinoli – who had been sworn at by Herrera during the Gold Cup – claimed was wanton.

“I looked down to avoid any kind of provocation and suddenly feel a blow to the neck on the right side of my body,” he said ahead of Herrera’s sacking.

“The next thing I see when I look up Luis Garcia is separating a madman who threw punches and kicks while I was insulted. Everyone will have his version of events and he probably will deny it, I have no doubt.”

Herrera insisted he “pushed him, we were arguing and I pushed him” but Mexico will now head into their Confederations Cup play-off against USA on October 9 without him.

The coach had been in charge of Mexico since taking over on an interim basis in October 2013 but was brought on permanently after the nation reached the World Cup 2014 finals.

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