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Devis Mangia resigns as Malta national teams’ head coach

Devis Mangia has resigned as national teams’ head coach, the Malta Football Association announced in a statement.

The Italian coach was relieved of his duties by the Malta Football Association last September after two national team players reported him of improper conduct.

Mangia has been accused by two players of improper conversation and was immediately suspended, pending an investigation.

Police have also been informed of the allegations against Mangia, who has denied all claims of misconduct. 

The Malta FA launched an inquiry into the case and referred the case to the Safeguarding Officer, who was given the job to investigate the allegations made, gather information and compile a report about the case.

Last month, the Safeguarding Officer asked the Malta FA Executive Board to be given more time to wrap up his investigation and was awarded until the end of the month.

It is understood that the report has now been submitted to the Malta FA top brass.

However, yesterday, Mangia informed the Malta FA that he would be relinquishing his post as national teams’ head coach with immediate effect.

“The Executive Board of the Malta FA has today resolved to accept the resignation tendered by Mr Devis Mangia, who informed the association that he would be relinquishing his post as National Teams Head Coach with immediate effect,” a Malta FA statement said.

“In his letter of resignation Mr Mangia said that his decision was taken in the best interest of the national team to serenely face the football challenges which lie ahead.”

The Malta FA added that Mangia had accepted to continue to co-operate with the association on the investigation being carried out on the safeguarding aspect of the allegations levelled against him.

“Mr Mangia accepted to continue to cooperate in the process being conducted by the Association’s organs in relation to the safeguarding aspect of the allegations levelled against him, which revolved around alleged inappropriate conversation,” the Malta FA said.

“Meanwhile, the Executive Board was informed that a report has already been presented by the Safeguarding Officer following a month-long investigation which saw him interview a number of interested or informed parties.

“The report will now be assessed by the Association’s Safeguarding Board, composed of independent professionals.”

On his part, Mangia issued a statement, through his lawyer Dr Giannella De Marco, and said that his decision to step down was taken after a long deliberation and has again denied all the allegations put forward against him.

“Yesterday I informed the Malta Football Association of my intention to relinquish the post of Head Coach of the Malta National Teams,” Mangia said in the statement.

“My decision was reached after long deliberation. During my time as Head Coach I had always worked passionately and without favour in the best interest of Maltese football and the national teams.

“The results achieved are the result of hard work and dedication of many individuals who put football above anything else. It is regrettable that the situation created in these past weeks risks disturbing the serenity within the MFA and the future progress of the Maltese team.

“I would like to reiterate unequivocally, that not only have I not behaved in a manner that offends the dignity of any person sexual or otherwise, but nor has there been any allegation by MFA of any sexual abuse or harassment in my regard.

“I have submitted myself to the full scrutiny of the safeguarding process and will continue to do so. However, conscious of the delicate nature of the circumstances, and the importance of the matches facing the national team, I arrived at the painful decision to take a step back.

“I wish the Malta Football Association and its National Teams well and I trust they can continue building on the good work done in the past three years.”

Mangia’s departure is expected to be the main item on the agenda of the Malta FA General Assembly that will convene at the Centenary Hall this evening.

President Bjorn Vassallo is expected to address the delegates and it is likely that he will give details on who will replace Mangia as national teams head coach.

The Times of Malta received information in the last week that among the candidates for the job were former Bologna, Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Atalanta coach Delio Rossi and Andrea Bonatti, the coach of Juventus U-23.

However, it looks likely that the Malta FA is likely to offer the job to the experienced Rossi.

The Times of Malta spoke with Rossi on the possibility of taking the Malta job last week and he denied that there had been any contact.

However, persons close to Rossi’s entourage told the Times of Malta that the appointment is a huge possibility.

During Tuesday’s meeting the Malta FA is also expected to discuss its strategic objectives and it remains to be seen whether any announcement will be made on who will replace Mark Gatt as coach of the women’s national team following his departure last month.

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