Shane Flanagan as resigned as head coach of the Cronulla Sharks, the club announced in a statement this morning.
While the Sharks stipulated that they would be making "no further public comment" on the matter, chairman Dino Mezzatesta did say that he was "disappointed his tenure at the Sharks will come to an end".
"Shane was our first premiership winning coach, he is the coach of our team of the half century and he has given exceptional service and dedication to our club," Mezzatesta said.
"He worked tirelessly to build our team and our club into a competitive force and he will forever hold a special place in the club's history."
In the statement, Flanagan admitted that it was "one of the toughest decisions of [his] 36-year rugby league career".
"The last month has taken an enormous mental and emotional toll on my family and myself," he added.
"I intend on responding to the notice issued by the NRL, however I have made this decision in the best interests of the entire club and the players to allow the best possible preparation for the 2019 season without constant speculation and uncertainty as to who their head coach will be."
Flanagan then went on to thank the board and management, his coaching staff, the fans and "to the many players who I have been fortunate to coach at Cronulla".
"Without doubt, I will hold the entire 2016 playing squad, staff, supporters and the unforgettable achievement to deliver the club its first premiership forever in my heart."
The 53-year-old has until the 31st of January to respond to his de-registration by the NRL, which was handed down as punishment for dealing with the club while he was suspended in 2014.