Mexico coach Miguel Herrera fired after allegedly punching reporter

Written By Mike Slane
Herrera-072915-getty-ftr.jpg
(Getty Images)

Mexico has fired head coach Miguel Herrera just days after he led the team to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup title.

Herrera was reportedly involved in an altercation with a Mexican reporter Christian Martinoli of TV Azteca at the Philadelphia airport less than 24 hours after El Tri won their seventh Gold Cup championship with a 3-1 victory over Jamaica on Sunday night.

MORE: Gold Cup photos | International soccer rivalries | Mexico's brightest star

Martinoli, who had been critical of Herrera this summer during Mexico's Copa America and Gold Cup runs, told AS Mexico that he ran into the Mexico national team when he got past security at the airport. There, Herrera allegedly punched him in the neck, then challenged him to a fight outside.

Herrera used profanity to describe Martinoli in a June news conference and the two later exchanged tweets with Herrera saying he hoped he could run into the commentator to fix their differences.

Azteca TV sent out a statement demanding the federation investigate the incident with sanctions forthcoming to make sure no soccer figure behaves in the same manner going forward.

"The behavior of the manager of the national team is strange to us and worries us enormously," the statement read. "The Federacion Mexicana de Futbol shouldn't allow attacks like that suffered by our partner Christian Martinoli at the hands of Mr. 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."

Though Martinoli told a number of media outlets there was a confrontation, the Philadelphia airport's Twitter account said the airport had no video record of a confrontation and could not confirm an incident occurred.

"I pushed him," Herrera told El Universal newspaper. "We were arguing and I pushed him."

Herrera was initially appointed interim head coach for Mexico on Oct. 18, 2013. Less than two months later, after winning a two-legged playoff against New Zealand to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, it was announced that Herrera would remain national team coach through the World Cup.

El Tri bounced back from a poor World Cup qualifying cycle by reaching the knockout round in Brazil, eventually losing to the Netherlands 2-1 in the round of 16. Throughout the tournament, Herrera became somewhat of a cult figure due to his sideline antics.

Mexico is set to face the U.S. in a one-game playoff at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 9 for a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

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