28/11/2011

FAW 'Devastated' At Death Of Speed

The Football Association of Wales has spoken of its devastation at the news of Gary Speeds apparent suicide on Saturday.

The association said it was a "huge loss" that this tragedy should have overtaken someone so young and talented, not only for his family and friends but the "nation as a whole".

Gary Speed was just 42 and leaves behind a wife and two children. He had appeared on BBC One's Football Focus show on Saturday afternoon, just hours before his death.

FAW Chief Executive, Jonathan Ford said: "I, and all of the football family of Wales, am devastated by the news of Gary’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family at this difficult time.

While FAW President, Phil Pritchard said he was completely shocked by news and that his thoughts were with his family.

"We will do whatever we can as an association to help them in this difficult time."

The FAW said that Gary was appointed as manager to the Welsh national team one year ago and was given the brief to prepare the Wales senior squad for qualification to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

During his year in charge, the results and performances in the final European Championship qualifiers and friendly games suggested that there were strong grounds for optimism that the team could challenge for a place in the finals in three years time.

The English FA also paid tribute to the player who had an outstanding career in the English league as a player.

A spokesman for the association said: "It is with great sadness that The FA has learned of the passing of Gary Speed. The thoughts of everybody at The FA are with his family and friends at this time.

'Gary had many friends at The FA, who are truly saddened by this news."

(DW)

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