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Coates resigns as head of the AMEX European Tour

Macclesfield, Cheshire, August 21 - Terry Coates, 66, the Chief Executive of the American Express European Tour has resigned. He will leave his post next March to set up a sports consultancy with Gill Wilson, who resigned as the Tour's Deputy Chief Executive in May after a discordant and angry annual general meeting.

Coates also threatened to leave after the AGM when the women professionals were strong in their criticisms about the lack of sponsorship and tournaments. This year there is 15 events with a prize money of nearly 3 million compared with only nine worth 1million when he took over in 1993.

He said "I will have been in the post for five years in March, and I feel that is long enough. It is time to move on. The decision to leave has lifted a huge weight from my shoulders."

"But I will stay until my replacement has been appointed. It is important that there is a smooth transition."

Pia Nillson, the European Solheim Cup Captain, said "What has been happening recently hasn't been working, and so this gives everyone a chance to stand back and ask - how can we improve? What characters, and qualities, are needed for the Tour to make headway."

"A good European structure is so important for women's golf."

The post will be advertised next month.