Devis Mangia: Malta national team footballer alleges sexual misconduct

National football team coach is suspended from his role after MFA receives complaint about improper conduct with football players

Malta national football team head coach Devis Mangia
Malta national football team head coach Devis Mangia

The Malta Football Association has suspended head coach Devis Mangia, over allegations made in a complaint about sexual misconduct towards one or more football players in the national team.

The announcement of the suspension was made this morning, some 10 hours before a friendly match against Israel at the Ta’ Qali stadium. 

MaltaToday is informed Mangia has been accused of improper sexual advances on one of the Malta national football team players, which could have informed his decisions on which football players to call up for matches. 

The MFA has refused to comment on the allegation of an improper and unwanted sexual advance. A spokesperson said the association’s executive board would be meeting on Wednesday But no further comment was released beyond its official statement on breach of MFA policies and that Mangia would cooperate with inquiries. 

Contacted by text message yesterday after not taking MaltaToday’s calls, Mangia, 47, was asked for comment as to the allegations of unwanted advances to football players under his charge, as well as the existence of similar allegations from previous coaching posts. 

The 47-year-old succeeded Ray ‘Zazu’ Farrugia in 2019 at the helm of the national team, who had been appointed after the sacking of Tom Saintfiet. In his last two seasons in charge of Universitatea Craiova, Mangia led the team to win the Romanian Cup, and also managed to take it to the third round of the Europa League, playing against top-tier teams A.C. Milan and Redbull Leipzig. 

Mangia, who married in 2019, was already accused of entertaining intimate relations with footballers when he coached University of Craiova in Romania. The accusations were made by another former coach, Victor Pițurcă, who said Mangia had made advances to footballer Răzvan Popa when he coached the team between 2017 and 2019. 

Club owner Mihai Rotaru had stated that Mangia was not fired, but that he had agreed to leave following discussions. “We really care about Devis, he was part of our family,” Rotaru stated at the time. 

But similar accounts abound from yet another surprise departure by Mangia in 2016, from Ascoli, when the coach claimed he had to leave the club due to health problems. Mangia was however implicated in an incident that took place at a Novara hotel in May 2016 when he and another football player were reported to have left the football team’s retreat for hours on end. 

Mangia acquired his UEFA Pro coaching licence from the Coverciano technical centre in Italy, and his contract with the national team expiries in December 2023.