What’s happened to Ryan Giggs? World Cup play-off absence and court case latest

Wales are playing Austria tonight in their crunch World Cup play-off and the more casual football fan may be wondering why Wales manager Ryan Giggs is not involved, and why interim boss Rob Page is the one with the reins.

Former Manchester United player Giggs, 48, stood aside from Wales management duties after being charged with allegedly assaulting his ex-partner and alleged coercive control. He is not involved with Wales because those proceedings have not concluded, with his trial not due for another five months.

The Wales men’s football manager, appointed on a four-year contract in January 2018, was arrested in November 2020, before the Crown Prosecution Service brought charges in April 2021 following an investigation by Greater Manchester Police. The former Manchester United winger, 48, is accused of causing actual bodily harm to his former partner Katie Greville and assault by beating of her sister Emma Greville in an alleged incident outside his Greater Manchester home on November 1, 2020. Giggs, who denies all charges against him, is also accused of coercive and controlling behaviour against Katie Greville between December 2017 and November 2020.

His trial is set to begin on August 8. It had been scheduled for Manchester Crown Court in January 2022 but was postponed due to a lack of courtroom capacity with the court having to prioritise other trials, which you can catch up on here. Giggs was granted conditional bail which prevents him from having contact with the alleged victims and from attending any address where they are present.

In a statement issued at the time he was charged, Giggs said: “I have full respect for the due process of law and understand the seriousness of the allegations. I will plead not guilty in court and look forward to clearing my name.”

Rob Page acting as interim Wales manager

In Giggs’ absence, 41-cap ex-Wales footballer Rob Page has stepped up as interim manager to take Wales through Euro 2020 and their World Cup qualification campaign.

Wales are two matches away from reaching their first World Cup since 1958. They face Austria at Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, March 24, and will face either Ukraine or Scotland in June – with the winner heading to the finals.

Page said of Wales’ task: “We’ve got all the ingredients. We’ve got a great group of senior lads but also the younger players coming through with quality. It breeds for success, but if I’m being completely honest we’re punching above our weight. We thoroughly deserve to be where we’re at, playing top teams and in a World Cup play-off semi-final. The lads have earned that right.”


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