SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Jorge Sampaoli will stay on as the coach of Chile’s national team despite recent speculation that he was considering stepping down, the recently elected head of the country’s football association ANFP said on Friday.
ANFP President Arturo Salah, however, did not sound too convincing as to whether the Argentine coach, who led Chile to its first-ever victory in the region’s Copa America tournament in 2015, actually wanted to stay on or was just doing so until he could get out of his contract.
“He is our coach and he has a current contract,” Salah told reporters when asked if Sampaoli had tendered his resignation.
Sampaoli had hinted it would be hard for him to continue with the squad given a graft scandal at the ANFP and his discomfort with the fact that some local media outlets disclosed details of his employment contract.
His current contract runs until 2018, but Salah said that Sampaoli had asked to exit his contract early.
“He has expressed that he is very hurt with all that has happened … he is living through difficult moments personally, but on the other hand we have a contract that he has to abide by,” Salah said.
In November, former ANFP President Sergio Jadue resigned his post and went to the United States where he pleaded guilty to graft charges as part of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s widening investigation into soccer’s world governing body FIFA.
The details of Sampaoli’s work contract were disclosed by local media in recent weeks, casting public scrutiny on him and prompting his ire.
According to local media, Sampaoli is currently in talks with various European clubs, including London’s Chelsea.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery and Felipe Iturrieta, writing by Gram Slattery; editing by G Crosse and Anthony Esposito)