Oxford

Ex-Uefa chief seeks 'resolution' with employer after disappearance

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Media captionBernard Ross was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2017

A former Uefa executive, who went missing for two months, says he needs to find a "resolution" with the organisation to move on with his life.

Bernard Ross, who has bipolar disorder, left his Oxford home in October and was found safe in Switzerland in December.

In his first interview since he vanished, Mr Ross said: "I fell ill at work because of work... they have a responsibility to help me."

Uefa said it was relieved Mr Ross was back in touch with his family.

Image caption Mr Ross believes resolving things with Uefa is the key to his recovery

Mr Ross worked at European football's governing body as a director of TV for more than 10 years, but started to become ill during the Euro 2016 tournament.

His wife Jacinta Evans said he lost his job with the organisation in 2016 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in January 2017 and then spent six months in hospital.

The married father-of-four left Oxford on October 18 and told his wife he was travelling to London to see his sister but failed to arrive.

Image copyright Alexandre Fourtoy
Image caption Bernard Ross was responsible for televising events like the Champions League and Euro 2016

During his disappearance he stopped taking his medication which he said left him "very confused".

He was spotted using a bicycle to travel around the south of France.

In his first interview since his disappearance, Mr Ross told the BBC he had planned to go to Europe, but planned it "badly".

"I took a lot of time thinking about things like the bicycle rather than planning any trip," he said.

Image copyright Police Cantonale Vaudoise
Image caption A CCTV image was taken of him near the Uefa headquarters in Nyons

Mr Ross also went to Uefa's head office in Nyons to resolve things with his former employer.

He added: "I delivered note cards with 'help me'.

"I wanted my ex-employer to help me which I feel they have not done.

"It's a little bit ingrained in my DNA at the moment, according to the doctors, that a resolution needs to come to help me accept things, like the fact I'm ill. It's so intertwined, interlocked.

"The resolution with Uefa, my illness, are intertwined and I need to unpick that to move on."

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Media captionJacinta Ross spoke to Victoria Derbyshire about her missing husband

Mr Ross was formally discharged from a psychiatric hospital in Geneva on Friday.

In a statement, Uefa said it was bound by a confidentiality agreement and would not go into details of the case.

However, it said no employee had had to work unreasonable levels during Euro 2016 and that Mr Ross had shown no signs of any illness when he was employed by the organisation.

"Nor did he ever produce a medical certificate or a doctor's report suggesting that he was ill," it added.

"Notwithstanding this, and even after he had left our employment to take up a new job, Uefa made repeated offers to assist Bernard, on a voluntary basis, for example by offering to fund private health care and treatment in the UK. These offers were never taken up."

For more on this story, watch BBC Inside Out South on BBC One from 19:30 GMT on Monday 5 February.

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