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Sport Western United sued over Mark Rudan bullying allegations

06:01  02 june  2020
06:01  02 june  2020 Source:   theage.com.au

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Western United A-League coach Mark Rudan delivering soccer balls to WUFC supporters homes on April 09, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) © 2020 Getty Images MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Western United A-League coach Mark Rudan delivering soccer balls to WUFC supporters homes on April 09, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) Western United's former team manager is suing the club for $120,000, claiming he was left with a mental illness after alleged bullying by coach Mark Rudan.

Nejc Kodric, who was Western United's team manager from June 2019 to December 2019, alleges Rudan's bullying caused him to suffer a mental illness and resign from his role.

Western United deny all of Mr Kodric's claims.

"The club vehemently denies the claim and in particular notes that the person resigned from his employment," United chief executive Chris Pehlivanis said of the unlawful dismissal claim in a statement.

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"The club stands behind our head coach and since the matter is currently before the courts, the club will not be making any further comment at this stage."

Some 13 examples of alleged bullying are detailed in documents lodged with the Federal Circuit Court, as well as five times that Western United allegedly ignored Mr Kodric's complaints regarding Rudan and his working conditions.

Mr Kodric's allegations include that Rudan forced him to clean his dirty clothes and bed sheets among other directions to perform tasks outside of his job description (such as buying him groceries), and also made the team manager pack Rudan's belongings from a hotel room on an away trip and take them to the airport after he had left.

The court documents also alleged Rudan would verbally abuse Mr Kodric in front of other staff, including on one occasion when he put the captain's armband in the wrong player's locker.

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Rudan also allegedly instructed staff to refer to him as "the boss" and told them they would have to work overtime. If they did not like that they should "suck it up" and not complain to authorities.

On another occasion Rudan allegedly directed all staff to weigh themselves because he was unhappy with the appearance and weight of some, which caused Mr Kodric to feel anxious and uncomfortable.

Mr Kodric also complained to the club's general manager of football, Nicholas De Luca, about his working conditions, like a lack of air conditioning or heating in change-rooms and allegedly non-compliant flooring.

He then complained again to Mr De Luca, former club director Lou Sticca and current club director Steve Horvat about Rudan's treatment.

He alleges private complaints were passed onto Rudan against his wishes.

With the A-League's resumption tentatively set for July or August, Western United sit in sixth position, the last finals spot.

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