Thursday 19 September 2019

Villa apologise as MacDonald sacked after bullying probe

Kevin MacDonald. Photo: PA
Kevin MacDonald. Photo: PA

John Percy

Aston Villa have sacked head of football development Kevin MacDonald "with immediate effect" over allegations of bullying from some of the club's former younger players in the 1990s.

MacDonald, who served as assistant to former Ireland manager Steve Staunton, has left the Premier League club following an extensive investigation led by chief executive Christian Purslow, with the Scot departing after two spells over two decades.

It was revealed in February 2017 that MacDonald had been under investigation over similar allegations with a Premier League inquiry ordering Villa to make "sweeping and vigorous" changes to welfare protection for academy players.

Those allegations regarded bullying of a player in 2015 and 2016, with MacDonald retaining his job after the inquiry. He was suspended in December last year after ex-Ireland international Gareth Farrelly, a former trainee who was with the club from 1992 to 1997, went public in an interview and accused MacDonald of "incredibly aggressive" bullying.

Villa confirmed yesterday that MacDonald had now left the club after an independent investigation.

The club's statement read: "Aston Villa can confirm Kevin MacDonald has left his position as head of football development with immediate effect.

"Mr MacDonald had been reallocated to non-player facing duties pending completion of an independent investigation into allegations about his past conduct.

"That investigation carried out by barrister Jack Mitchell has now concluded and the results delivered to the board. As the report forms part of an employee disciplinary process, the club is unable to provide details in public.

"Aston Villa wishes to apologise to all former players who were affected by behaviour which would not be tolerated by the club today."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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