Belarus coach Edouard Malofeev's resignation has been rejected days before the country's first EURO 2004™ qualifier against the Netherlands.
The Belarus Football Federation (BFF) turned down the 60-year-old's resignation despite his claims that ill health and negative press had made his job impossible.
'We need Malofeev more than ever'
"We have little time to prepare the squad for the important European qualifier, that's why we need Malofeev more than ever," BFF president Grigory Fyodorov said.
Fyodorov plans to speak to Malofeev on Monday to try and persuade him to continue his work with the team. The coach forced the BFF to hold an emergency meeting on Saturday after he sent his letter of resignation.
'A decline in my health'
"I ask you to relieve me of the head coach position in connection with a decline in my health, reaching retirement age and the negative position of the local press," he wrote.
Malofeev replaced Sergei Borovsky as coach in July 2000 and narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.
Success in May
He announced he was quitting at the end of the qualifiers but was persuaded to think again before leading his side to victory in a four-team friendly tournament involving Russia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia in May.
Malofeev's strict approach has not always won friends, and he famously threw Aleksandr Khatskevich and Valentin Belkevich out of the squad last September, accusing the FC Dynamo Kyiv duo of not trying in a home defeat by Ukraine. Defender Aleksandr Lukhvich was then axed for supporting his team-mates.
Belarus's first Group 3 qualifier, against the Netherlands, is due to take place in Eindhoven on 7 September.
©Reuters 1998-2010. All rights reserved.