Costa Rica coach Paulo Wanchope resigns after fight in stands

Costa Rica coach Paulo Wanchope resigned on Wednesday, one day after video emerged of him fighting with an unidentified man in the stands during a game.

Wanchope was watching Costa Rica's under-23 team play in Panama on Tuesday when the scuffle broke out.

Local news reports indicate Wanchope, watching from the stands, was irritated at refereeing during Tuesday night's Olympic qualifying match, which ended 0-0.

Video of the incident showed Wanchope opening a gate to the field before being shoved into a youth standing behind it. Wanchope then turned and punched the man who pushed him, and the fight ensued until police intervened.

Wanchope met with officials from the Costa Rican Football Federation, which later announced the manager's resignation.

"Following a cordial meeting between Paulo Cesar Wanchope and federation executives Jorge Hidalgo and Rodolfo Villalobos, secretary general Rafael Vargas and the president of the national team commission Adrian Gutierrez, the coach decided to step aside and leave the technical direction of the national team.

"Wanchope was thankful for the opportunity he had in front of the Tricolor, while the federation executives thanks his work and wished him well in his future endeavors."

The incident came a month after Mexico, another CONCACAF side, fired its coach Miguel Herrera for allegedly punching a television broadcaster.

Wanchope was watching the match as an observer, but he approached the field several times to shout at officials that the match was fixed, said Ramon Cardoze, the vice president of the Panama Soccer Federation.

Wanchope had a badge that apparently would have allowed him to go down to the field after the match.

"He could go down at a certain point, but not in that aggressive way," Cardoze said.

The Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion called the incident "shameful," while the Prensa Libre called it "embarrassing."

Wanchope took over Costa Rica's team last year after a career as one of Central America's most famous forwards.

He played for several years in England's Premier League and was a star on the national team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.