Photo credit: AFP.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli appears on the verge of quitting six months after guiding La Roja to the Copa America, with the Argentine claiming he is being held “hostage” by the federation. Sampaoli has called a press conference for later on Wednesday when he is expected to announce he is stepping down after three years in the job.

After the heady days of last year and Copa glory, Chilean soccer has descended into crisis, with federation president Sergio Jadue disgraced in the FIFA bribery scandal. Jadue, vice-president of South American regional body CONMEBOL, is reportedly in witness protection in the United States to cooperate with a probe into the corruption scandal.

Sampaoli is furious at local media reports alleging that he is guilty of tax evasion and holds an offshore bank account.

New Chilean football chief Arturo Salah has refused to let Sampaoli break his contract unless he pays a $6 million (5.5 million euros) buy-out clause.

“In this atmosphere, I don’t want to work or live any more in this country,” Sampaoli told Chilean website Faro Deportivo.

“I could never have thought that the image of an idol who has given so much to Chilean football could be destroyed in such a short time,” he added.

“My honor and my dignity have been damaged by pretending there’s a link with the corrupt acts of the former president. It’s incredible and unacceptable.”

If Sampaoli does confirm his exit, his compatriot Marcelo Bielsa, jobless since walking out on Marseille at the start of the Ligue 1 season in France, could return to the post he held between 2007-2010.

Another contender according to local media is Eduardo Berizzo, the manager of Celta Vigo in Spain’s La Liga.