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Maradona sacked as Argentina’s coach

Washington: Argentine Football Association has decided not to renew Diego Maradona’s contract, showing him the door as the country’s football coach before he could resign.

The Argentine Football Association decision on Tuesday comes three-and-half-weeks after Maradona coached team led by ace playmaker Lionel Messi was eliminated from the World Cup.

“Diego shut himself off to any change. Diego has all the right to do what he wants. But so does AFA,” said executive committee member Luis Segura on Argentine television.

The federation had offered Maradona a four-year contract through the 2014 World Cup, but Maradona said he would do so only if his entire staff remained.

That was unacceptable to AFA president Julio Grondona. He had asked for several assistants to be replaced, including Maradona’s close friend Alejandro Mancuso.

The federation said its executive committee unanimously decided to not keep Maradona, The Washington Post reports.

AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo called the decision ‘very painful,’ but said there was no way to solve the impasse.

“The president said that there was a significant difference between what AFA wanted to achieve and Maradona’s aspirations for the future. There was a wide gap, and it was impossible to narrow it,” Cherquis Bialo said.

Bialo said there might be a role in the future for Maradona.

Youth team manager Sergio Batista was appointed interim coach for the August 11 exhibition match at Ireland, followed by a September 7 home exhibition match against world champion Spain.

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