Mark Wright today resigned as manager of Oxford United.

The former Liverpool and England defender, who has been the United boss for just six months, resigned by fax before his scheduled disciplinary hearing at The Kassam Stadium.

The club and Wright issued a joint statement.

It said: "Mr Mark Wright has sadly decided to tender his resignation as manager of Oxford United Football Club with immediate effect. Oxford United have accepted Mr Wright's resignation.

"Both the club and Mr Wright regret that Mr Wright's time at Oxford has been prematurely ended, however Mr Wright feels he has been placed in an invidious position.

"Mr Wright refutes the suggestions he used inappropriate comments at the Oxford United v Scunthorpe United game in October. Mr Wright does not admit any liability in this regard.

"Mr Wright feels that his comments or actions have been used out of context. The Football Association has already heard all sides in the matter and has reached its decision some time ago.

"Mr Wright has apologised to the referee for his actions via the FA at the time of the hearing. He reiterates his apology today.

"For its part, the club feels it had to make further enquiries. In the light of Mr Wright's resignation, the club has decided not to pursue the matter any further."

United's players were told of the decision as they boarded the team coach taking them north for their Division 3 game at Hull tomorrow.

United chairman Firoz Kassam said a decision had not yet been made on whether Ian Atkins's job title will change to manager from director of football.

But he said the decision would certainly be made easier if United collected three points at Hull.

Kassam said: "I had a very good working relationship with Mark, and would like to wish him well in his career in football."

Wright's departure was a long, drawn-out affair in the end. Oxford United felt duty bound to suspend him last week, following allegations that he racially abused black referee Joe Ross.

And Kassam says he believes the Football Association should have acted more quickly, and gone into the matter more deeply, when the racial allegation was first brought to their attention.

Wright's assistant, Ted McMinn, will continue to act as an assistant on the coaching staff.