Two Maltese national team football players have said that their coach, Devis Mangia, made inappropriate sexual approaches toward them.
The Malta Football Association executive committee banned the 47-year-old Italian coach on Tuesday until the probe’s outcome.
According to Net News, mobile phone recordings of the alleged sexual impropriety will be handed to the MFA committee examining the subject.
As of yesterday, Mangia had not responded to MaltaToday’s request for comment on the charges or on whether they were related to his choice not to deploy specific players who could have resisted his overtures.
On the day Mangia was suspended by the MFA, Malta faced Israel in a friendly match, and on Thursday, it played Estonia in the UEFA Nations League and lost 2-1.
Based on an alleged policy violation allegation, the National Teams have temporarily removed Mangia as head coach. Mangia has offered his undivided cooperation in determining the truth of the situation. Until the following measures are debated within the appropriate decision-making authorities openly and transparently, the Association will have no further comment, the MFA stated on Tuesday.
Under Mangia’s direction, Universitatea Craiova won the Romanian Cup in each of his final two seasons as head coach and advanced to the third round of the Europa League, where they faced off against A.C. Milan and Redbull Leipzig, two of the best clubs in Europe.
Mangia, who tied the knot in 2019, was previously accused of having sexual encounters with student-athletes while coaching at Romania’s University of Craiova. Mangia was the team’s coach from 2017 to 2019, and another former coach, Victor Pițurcă, has accused him of making sexual approaches toward player Răzvan Popa.
According to the club’s owner, Mihai Rotaru, Mangia was not dismissed but left voluntarily after conversations.
Rotaru said, “We genuinely care about Devis; he was part of our family.”
However, there are several tales of a similarly shocking exit by Mangia in 2016 from Ascoli, when the coach cited health concerns as the reason for his departure. But in May of 2016, Mangia and another football player were said to have abandoned the football team’s retreat at a Novara hotel for hours and were implicated in the event.
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