26 Mar 2019

Sport: Fiji football coach says assault allegations part of campaign against him

12:47 pm on 26 March 2019

Fiji men's football coach Christophe Gamel says allegations that he assaulted a group of youth players at a national training camp are false and part of a wider campaign to force him from his job.

Nine players from the Ba, Lautoka and Rewa clubs allege they were assaulted by the Frenchman at an Under 23 training camp in January, after he informed them they had failed a drug test and would be suspended from football for one month.

Some of the players told RNZ Pacific they reported the incidents to police but declined to press formal charges.

Fiji football coach Christophe Gamel.

Fiji football coach Christophe Gamel. Photo: Fiji FA

But Christophe Gamel said the allegations were part of attempt by the local districts and players to distract from the failed drugs tests.

"There is a big campaign against me to destablise the work that is done because I tried to put the things in order - first family, then the nation and then club (and districts) and maybe in Fiji it's not this way of thinking."

"Actually the main topic was the drugs. When you caught many people for drugs you have enemies, it's normal, but I won't change this process so it is like that," he said.

"We want clean soccer and to change the topic to attack the national coach - it's really that way but I guess some people are like that. Let's go, let's win it and we will see what will be the result and I would like everyone to wait - I can't wait for that."

Fiji Football CEO Mohammed Yusuf confirmed an investigation into the allegations was completed last month but said the report from its ethics committee is yet to be released.