West Ham reinstate coach involved in ‘Democratic Football Lads Alliance’ march

The coach has defended the DFLA group on Twitter against claims it was ‘far right’

 Mark Phillips has been reinstated to hiscoaching role by West Ham United. Photograph: Arfa Griffiths/Getty Images

Mark Phillips has been reinstated to hiscoaching role by West Ham United. Photograph: Arfa Griffiths/Getty Images

 

By Press Association Sport staff

West Ham have reinstated academy coach Mark Phillips after investigating his social media posts revealing his involvement in a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).

The Hammers suspended Phillips in October after he attended a DFLA march through central London and later defended the group, which has been accused of Islamophobia and racism, in a series of posts on Twitter.

“West Ham United can confirm that following suspension and subsequent investigation, academy coach Mark Phillips has been reinstated to his role in accordance with employment law, and has been reminded of his responsibilities,” a club statement said.

West Ham launched an investigation due to concerns Phillips’ social media posts may have broken club regulations and he was subsequently suspended.

It’s understood the club’s inquiry found there were not sufficient grounds for dismissing Phillips for breaching the Hammers’ social media policy and bringing the club into disrepute.

But Phillips, who coaches West Ham’s under-18s, has been given a final warning over his conduct.

He will resume his coaching duties at the club after attending courses on discriminatory issues and bias, compulsory for all West Ham employees.

Phillips said he had attended the DFLA march and later defended the group on Twitter against claims it was “far right” and to blame for violence with the police and anti-fascism protesters.

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