Malta football coach Devis Mangia on Wednesday night denied accusations of misconduct, hours after the board of the Malta Football Association asked its Safeguarding Board to investigate the claims.
Mangia was suspended by the FA on Tuesday after a player reported him over alleged sexual misconduct.
A second national team player later came forward alleging similar behaviour.
The Malta Football Association on Wednesday announced that it had launched an internal inquiry.
Mangia broke his silence on Wednesday night, telling the Italian media through his lawyer that he was categorically denying all accusations.
“In relation to the news published on national media, it is my duty to clarify that I have never, now or in the past, shown harmful conduct towards the personal or sexual dignity of any person, not least a football player or any other member of the federation,” the statement said.
“This is all unfounded and false news that seriously damages my personal dignity and my professional reputation.”
Mangia, who is assisted by lawyer Fabio Pinelli, insisted that “contrary to what has been published by the media, this kind of behaviour has never been disputed by the federation itself.”
The former Italy U-21 coach threatened legal action against those who continue to publish or spread such news.
“Should such false accusations continue to be published, I reserve the right to file a complaint over defamatory conduct,” Mangia said.
“In any case, all further communication will be conducted by the Maltese federation, in respect of fairness of our professional relationship.”
Malta FA launch internal investigation
On Wednesday, the Malta Football Association decided to prolong Mangia’s suspension as national team coach and opened an investigation into the case.
“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 FA said in a statement.
“The inquiry will commence immediately, and the report will be submitted to the safeguarding board in accordance with a timetable set by the executive board.
“The safeguarding board, led by Andrew Azzopardi, is responsible for taking decisions related to safeguarding investigations.
“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.”
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