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Malta FA EXBO sends Mangia’s case in front of Safeguarding Board

Safeguarding officer will provide recommendations on Italian’s future

The Malta FA Executive Board has decided to send Devis Mangia’s case in front of the association’s Safeguarding Board which will submit its recommendations on the future of the national teams’ head coach, the local governing body of football said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Mangia was temporarily suspended by the Malta FA in the light of a report of misconduct by the head coach towards a national team player.

The Times of Malta reported on Tuesday that a national team player had reported Mangia to the Malta FA for inappropriate sexual conduct.

Since then, a second national team player has reported Mangia of similar conduct after filing a report to the police through his lawyer, Dr Adrian Delia.

These allegations forced the Malta FA to take swift action and after temporarily suspending Mangia of his duties on Tuesday, the governing body’s Executive Board met for an urgent meeting to discuss the matter, on Wednesday.

During the meeting, MFA president Bjorn Vassallo gave a detailed overview of the case.

“Bjorn Vassallo, the President of the Malta FA, gave a step-by-step account of the events that led the Association to temporarily suspend Mangia once the player reported the matter to Malta FA officials,” the MFA said in a statement.

“The Malta FA president explained the course of action undertaken by the association after speaking to the player who was immediately offered any support needed.

“The Executive Board members were briefed on the nature of the misconduct claims allegedly stemming from inappropriate conversation.”

During the meetings, the MFA president also gave details of the background checks carried out by the association before employing Mangia.

“The background checks carried out by the association before engaging the services of Mangia as Head Coach of the National Teams were explained in chronological order during the Executive Board meeting,” the statement said.

“At the time, the only claim concerning Mangia was an unfounded media report in Italy going back to 2016.

“The Malta FA ascertained that, at no time, there had been any disciplinary, criminal or proceedings of any other nature against Mangia at any level prior to his appointment as Head Coach of the National Teams in December 2019.

“It was also confirmed that his coaching licence had always been recognised and renewed accordingly.”

As part of the association’s ‘Know Your Client’ protocol, introduced in 2017, the monitoring is ongoing and this applies to all coaching staff, the MFA said.

In addition, the association files a court application with the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction on a yearly basis in accordance with Chapter 518 of the Laws of Malta (The Protection of Minors (Registration) Act).

“It is of paramount importance that we explain the background checks undertaken by the Association prior to Mangia’s appointment,” Vassallo was quoted as saying.

“This detailed account shows that, contrary to speculation, the Malta FA was thorough in its efforts to assess the coach’s background based on official information provided by entities rather than relying on speculation.

“The fundamental point is that we have an obligation to explain everything in an open and transparent manner. We will also be doing everything in our power to protect the identity and integrity of the players concerned.”

The Executive Board ratified the decision to suspend Mangia temporarily while initiating the internal procedures.

“The matter has been referred to the association’s Safeguarding Officer to investigate the allegations made, gather information, and compile a report about the case,” the statement said.

“The inquiry will commence immediately, and the report will be submitted to the Safeguarding Board in accordance with a time-table set by the Executive Board.

“The Safeguarding Board, led by chairman Andrew Azzopardi, is responsible for taking decisions related to safeguarding investigations.

“President Bjorn Vassallo informed the Executive Board that the association will be keeping UEFA updated on the steps being taken.

“The Executive Board resolved that it would leave no stone unturned in its pursuit of facts and reiterated its full trust in the association’s structures and processes.

“To this effect, the association is always open to any form of whistleblowing and all reports of this nature are treated very seriously,” the statement concluded.

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