Sunday 16 June 2019

Villa suspend MacDonald over Farrelly's 'bullying' claim

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

John Fallon

Former Ireland assistant manager Kevin MacDonald has been suspended from working with players by Aston Villa following a complaint made by former Ireland midfielder Gareth Farrelly.

The Scot has worked in various roles at Villa for over 20 years, the majority at U-18 and U-23 level, but has been "temporarily reassigned to non-player-facing duties" by the Championship club.

Farrelly, who won six caps for Ireland and at 43 is now a qualified solicitor, worked under MacDonald shortly at Villa after moving from Dublin club Home Farm in 1992. He went on to play for Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic before returning home to become player-manager of his local club Bohemians.

Farrelly decided to raise his grievance upon discovering that, although MacDonald (pictured)was found guilty of bullying an apprentice by the Premier League in 2016, he had been allowed continue his employment.

Farrelly told 'The Guardian' that his former Villa youth coach was "incredibly aggressive with constant verbal and physical bullying" and said it "took me to a place at 20 that nobody should have to go to.

"And I wouldn't wish it on anybody." He added: "His regime destroyed far more kids than he ever developed"

In a statement, Villa said: "The club referred these allegations immediately to its local authority and the football authorities, and with their agreement has commissioned an independent investigation into the former player's complaints.

"That investigation will commence immediately and as a neutral act Kevin has been temporarily reassigned to non-player-facing duties pending completion of the investigation."

MacDonald was brought into the FAI fold in 2007 when his former team-mate Steve Staunton was appointed Ireland senior manager.

Irish Independent

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