Raymond Verheijen resigns as Wales assistant coach in anger at "destructive" FAW - and Craig Bellamy could follow

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Wales assistant coach Raymond Verheijen has resigned his role with the national team in frustration at what he has called the Football Association of Wales’ “political and destructive games” - and Craig Bellamy could follow by calling time on his international career.

Senior players including Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey are believed to be upset about the Dutchman’s departure at a time when Wales appeared to have genuine hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

The FAW said on Friday night that it had accepted the hugely respected coach’s resignation “with regret”, which came after weeks of uncertainty about the coaching set-up under new Wales manager Chris Coleman.

Verheijen’s bombshell could have serious ramifications for the likes of Bellamy, who is understood to have made aware of the Dutchman’s decision shortly before it became public. Bellamy and Ramsey are among those who have forcibly expressed their opinions in private that the backroom staff put in place a year ago should not change.

Verheijen was brought into the Wales set-up by former manager Gary Speed, who died in November, and was integral in overseeing a run of four wins from five matches in the second half of 2011 that had raised hopes of a successful qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup.

Goal.com understands that Verheijen took advantage of a break clause in his contract because of the treatment of former operations manager Adrian Davies, the FAW’s attempts to wrest back control of the national team and the lack of communication from Coleman and the governing body to the rest of the coaching staff in the build-up to the Speed memorial match against Costa Rica next Wednesday.

Coleman held talks a fortnight ago with Verheijen and Osian Roberts, who also worked under Speed, and the pair were made aware, not by the FAW but through the media, that they were expected to take control of the Costa Rica match while the new manager operated in the background.

Roberts had said he was hopeful that the trio, and Kit Symons, who had been appointed to the backroom staff by Coleman, could work together.

But Verheijen posted on his Twitter account on Friday evening: "Earlier today I have informed the FAW I will resign. Have enough of their political & destructive games. Very sad day.

"Very proud to be part of FIFA's most improved team in 2011. Would like to thank the players and fans for an amazing journey."

While Verheijen had made no long-term decision on his future, it was felt that his expected involvement in the Costa Rica fixture was a sign that he and Coleman could work together.

In reality, it is believed there was little communication between the FAW and the coaching team who had worked so successfully under Speed, a spell when Wales jumped from the 116th in the Fifa world rankings to 42nd, their highest position for 17 years.

Verheijen had one meeting with Coleman in London but Goal.com understands that there was no further communication between the pair, and no follow-up explanation from the new Wales boss or the FA about the plans for coaching the Wales team for the Costa Rica game.

Earlier this week, the Dutchman tweeted: "Very surprised to hear from journalists I will be in charge of Wales vs Costa Rica game next week. Nobody of FAW has informed me about this."

He also alleged the association had "sacked" Davies and not invited him to next week's match, something the FAW denied.

However, Goal.com has been made aware that Davies, a former champion squash player who was a long-time friend of Speed and an extremely popular figure with the Wales squad, was only invited to the Costa Rica match following an intervention from Speed’s widow Louise after he had been told that his services would no longer be required by the FAW.

Shortly after Verheijen's latest tweets, the FAW released a statement that read: “The FAW wishes to announce that it has today received the resignation of Raymond Verheijen. Raymond was the assistant manager to Gary Speed with the Wales national.

"The FAW accepts the resignation with regret, as Raymond was due to assist the Wales squad this week with the match against Costa Rica, a game being staged in honour of the Wales manager who tragically left us in November of last year.

"In light of the forthcoming match, and the sensitivities of it, the FAW has no further comment to make at this time.

"The FAW would like to take the opportunity to thank Raymond for his work over the last twelve months and wishes him well for the future."