Chris Coleman has made the surprise decision to step down as Wales manager, the FAW confirmed on Friday evening.
The Welsh FA were hoping to convince the coach to remain on board, despite the nation failing to qualify for next year's World Cup. But following a board meeting on Friday, Coleman chose to reject the offer of a contract extension, and the Mail report that he will replace Simon Grayson at Sunderland by the end of the week.
The Black Cats are staring at the possibility of a second successive relegation, given their current position at the bottom of the Championship table after 16 games. Robbie Stockdale will remain in charge of the side when they play Millwall on Saturday, but Coleman is expected to be in the dugout for the game against Aston Villa on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill was also considered for the job, with Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom and former Rangers coach Ally McCoist also reported candidates, but Coleman was thought to be the main target.
The decision comes as a huge blow for the Wales squad, who had previously urged the manager to remain in charge in spite of recent results. Welsh supporters were also quite vocal with their pleas, begging Coleman to stay after he took charge of his final game as Wales boss when they played Panama on Tuesday.
Coleman, who succeeded Gary Speed as Wales manager in 2012, is the country's most successful coach, having led them to the semi-final stage of the Euros last year. And it is indeed a huge loss for the Welsh, who will possibly undergo a rough period as they look to replace him.
The Wales Football Association have since released a statement announcing the departure.
And Jordan Ford, their chief executive, also expressed disappointment, but wished the coach the best of luck.
“We are extremely disappointed to see Chris’ tenure as Wales manager come to an end," he said.
“The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as National Team Manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.
“We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about.”