Howard Wells has been sacked as the Irish Football Association’s chief executive, the governing body have announced.
The IFA said they had taken this step “in the best interests of the association and the member clubs”.
The news came out of the blue as Wells attended the World Cup qualifier in Slovenia, where Northern Ireland lost 2-0 on Saturday.
A short statement read: “The Irish Football Association has today terminated the employment of its chief executive in the best interests of the Association and the member clubs.”
Wells became the IFA's first chief executive in November 2004 - he had held similar posts at Watford and Ipswich.
An experienced sports administrator, he was the inaugural chairman of UK Sport and also chaired the Central Council of Physical Recreation.
The Belfast-based position was created as part of the reorganisation of Northern Ireland football under the government’s soccer strategy.
Wells said this afternoon: “The matter is in the hands of my legal advisors and that is all I'm saying. I'm not prepared to make any further comment.“