The FA was asked to investigate evidence of bullying by Villa’s youth coach Kevin MacDonald and told of a toxic culture, denied by the club. Months later the key personnel remain in place and a player who suffered ‘hell’ waits for answers
In February this year, the Premier League made a rare intervention into one of its clubs’ exalted youth academies, finding evidence of bullying and aggressive behaviour by the Aston Villa coach Kevin MacDonald and a failure by the club to respond when concerns were raised.
The father of a youth-team player had complained about MacDonald, telling the head of the academy, Sean Kimberley, and other staff, that his son had begun to show signs of depression after months of being bullied and emotionally abused by MacDonald, from April 2015 to September 2016. The father was entirely dissatisfied with the club’s desultory response, so he complained to the Premier League. It commissioned an independent review, whose conclusions were communicated to the father by letter. It said: “There is evidence of bullying, aggressive behavior, and unacceptable language by Mr MacDonald.”