MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera was fired Tuesday following a television reporter's claim that man known as "El Piojo" punched him.
The ouster came just two days after Herrera led Mexico to victory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But Decio de Maria, who on Saturday becomes president of the Mexican Soccer Federation, said the incident with the journalist was not in keeping with "the spirit of fair and respectful competition" the organization espouses.
"Our values, our principles, are above any result," de Maria said at an afternoon news conference. "In our profession, our industry, the matches are never over, and as public figures who represent an institution we must be absolutely clear on that."
He did not announce a replacement for Herrera, who led Mexico to the round of 16 at last year's World Cup.
The incident involving the coach and Television Azteca's Christian Martinoli took place Monday at Philadelphia's airport as the team prepared to return to Mexico following its 3-1 victory over Jamaica in the championship match.
Martinoli accused Herrera of hitting him in the neck and then threatening him.
The journalist has been a tough critic of Herrera, as have many Mexican fans and pundits disappointed with the team's recent results.
"El Tri" failed to advance from group play at the Copa America last month in Chile. Critics also faulted Mexico's performance again at the Gold Cup, where it finished second in group and only advanced to the final after winning two knockout-round matches with the help of late penalty kicks awarded in controversial calls.
Herrera, whose affectionate nickname is Spanish for "The Louse," became well known for his exuberant sideline displays at the World Cup.
Earlier this year he and two players came under investigation by the soccer federation for tweets supporting Mexico's Green Party just before midterm elections, an apparent violation of the federation's code of ethics.