Miguel Herrera admits scuffle with reporter in his apology

Ousted Mexico national team coach Miguel Herrera said he will "return as exactly the same person" in an apology letter and first public acknowledgement of an incident that took place at Philadelphia International Airport with a TV Azteca reporter.

"I want to publicly apologize to the fans, the coaching staff, players, Mexico Football Federation and the media for my behavior in the regretful incident that I had with a commentator," Herrera said in the statement. "I understand that this is not an attitude becoming of a Mexico national team coach, despite all the criticism and taunts against myself and my family."

Herrera said he regretted the incident, thanked the media and asked the fans to be understanding of his current situation.

"It makes me very sad to be leaving my position as national team coach due to this regrettable cause, especially because the results in the line of the game have been, for the most part, positive within the goals we set," the news release said. "I will be taking advantage of this time to enjoy my family, rest a bit and afterward, I will return as the same person and you will have in me, as always, an open door."

The Mexico Football Federation sent the letter as a news release hours after voting on Tuesday to sack Herrera following the alleged Monday airport scuffle.

The sacking came just two days after Mexico won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, beating Jamaica, 3-1, to win the nation's first major title since 2011.

Martinoli on Monday accused Herrera of assaulting him in the TSA line at the airport, despite denials from airport officials that any such incident was captured on security cameras.

Herrera became interim head coach in November 2013 and was given the job full-time a month later. During his tenure, Mexico won 18 matches, drew 11 and lost seven.

Mexico has had six head coaches since the 2010 World Cup. Furthermore, Herrera was Mexico's 14th head coach since 1999. By comparison, the United States has had three in that span.

Critics faulted Mexico's performance at the Gold Cup, where it finished second in group play and advanced to the final only after winning two knockout-round matches with the help of late penalty kicks awarded in controversial calls.

TV Azteca is owned by Grupo Salinas, which owns Liga MX clubs Atlas and Morelia as well as the television broadcast rights in Mexico to El Tri, along with Televisa. Decio de Maria will take over the reins at the federation for Compean beginning on Aug. 1 as federation power shifts hands.

De Maria said the federation would take its time in search of a replacement and did not announce a timeline or reveal any names. He also said he hoped to avoid having to name an interim coach.

"Regarding a coaching replacement, we have to go out and look for coaches," he said. "Whatever decision we take will be criticized and analyzed but we will make a decision that allows all of us to go to Russia in 2018."

Mexico next plays a pair of friendlies in September against Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina, followed by a crucial playoff against the United States on Oct. 9 that will decide which team goes to the 2017 Confederations Cup.