The Malta FA executive board will send Devis Mangia’s case to its safeguarding board, which will submit its recommendations on the future of the national team’s head coach, the local governing body of football said in a statement.

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

Since then, a second national team player came forward alleging sexual misconduct by Mangia.

The MFA's safeguarding policy provides a space for alleged victims to come forward and is designed to protect children and vulnerable adults.

The allegations have forced the Malta FA to take swift action, and on Wednesday its executive board held an urgent meeting to discuss the matter.

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

“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," it said in a statement.

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

During the meeting, the MFA president also detailed the background checks carried out by the association before employing Mangia.

“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.

Additionally, 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 Act).

'MFA was thorough in its efforts to assess coach’s background'

“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 board ratified the decision to suspend Mangia temporarily while initiating 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 timetable set by the executive board.

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

'MFA will leave no stone unturned'

“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".

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us