Former Dutch international midfielder and coach Frank Rijkaard has stood down as coach of Sparta Rotterdam following their relegation from the Dutch Eredivisie.
Rijkaard, who has received death threats against his family, announced his decision to the club's board. "He took the decision by himself," said Cees Gerits, the club's interim general manager. "The relegation affected him a lot," Gerits added. "He was not looking forward to a season in the [second] division where he would have been forced to work with a smaller budget."
Sparta lost their top flight status for the first time in 46 years after finishing fourth in a four-team promotion/relegation play-off. In their place, cross-city rivals SC Excelsior, until now perennial losers in the play-off system, will be their replacement in the Eredivisie.
Pledged to stay
Earlier this month, Rijkaard, who was in his first season in charge of the club, had vowed not to "leave a sinking ship" and had pledged to stay and help them fight for promotion. However, he was sent a live bullet in the post, thought to have come from opposition fans, threatening him and his family.
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