Sacked netball coach Melissa Hyndman reveals allegations

Former Wales and Celtic Dragons coach Melissa Hyndman was sacked in June 2014
Former Wales and Celtic Dragons coach Melissa Hyndman was sacked in June 2014

Melissa Hyndman has revealed the allegations that led to her being sacked in June as head coach of the Wales and Celtic Dragons netball teams.

The New Zealander, 46, claims she was disciplined after sipping cocktails by a pool after a Tri-Nations event in 2012 in the Cook Islands.

The other charge was mentioning a player review after being told not to.

"The main reason I agreed to do this interview was just to clear my name really," Hyndman said.

"I'm an international coach and I want to coach again, and when I emailed the CEO [Mike Watson] of Welsh Netball and said I was going to make a statement, he said thanks for letting him know.

"It was important to clear my name and also for my reputation why I was fired, because when you hear allegations on the television you immediately think horrible things."

Melissa Hyndman speaks out on Wales netball sacking

Hyndman had been in charge of Wales and the Celtic Dragons club side since 2010.

During her reign Wales climbed from 19th to eighth in the world - the highest ranking achieved by Wales - which allowed them to qualify for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, while the Dragons reached the Superleague play-off final for the first time.

Hyndman was missing from the last Dragons game of the season, an absence put down to personal reasons at the time.

But in June Welsh Netball announced that: "Following a robust and rigorous internal disciplinary procedure, high performance coach Melissa Hyndman has been dismissed from her role with immediate effect.

"The process follows a number of allegations being made, and in line with Welsh Netball's disciplinary procedures, the action to remove her from the role was taken on Sunday 8 June, 2014."

Welsh Netball has declined to make any further comment following Hyndman's interview for the BBC's Wales Today programme.

Speaking publically for the first time, Hyndman said she had faced two allegations of disciplinary breaches.

"Reason one was because I consumed alcohol in the Cook Islands, which was two years ago, and the second reason was because I spoke to the players about a player review - "a deliberate disregard of instruction" - when I was told not to," Hyndman said.

"So that was it, that's the two."

Wales had completed the 2012 tournament in the Cook Islands, beating the hosts and Scotland to take the title, and were preparing to depart the following day.

"It was our last day and the girls had asked if they could have a drink round the swimming pool and I agreed," Hyndman explained.

"Usually I don't, but I did on this time and I actually didn't buy any alcohol - a couple of the girls had cocktails and walked past me, offered me a sip and I said yes.

"Four cocktails later I'd consumed in total about a wine glass full and that was it.

"I'd drunk coke and water the rest of the time but it wasn't about that, it was just that I'd consumed a bit of alcohol and that's exactly what I did, I don't deny that and never have.

"Purposely as a coach I don't allow drinking but… every team goes out at the end of a [tournament] and celebrates either their successes of their losses… no-one got out of hand."

On the charge of speaking about a player performance review, Hyndman says she spoke to her squad after the review had ended, only mentioning the subject as part of a motivational speech before a game.

"I followed the process when I was suspended and I didn't know what I was suspended for, but that's what they came back with," added Hyndman who, in the interview responds to a question about her reputation as an uncompromising coach.

"I'm a successful coach and sometimes as top coaches we do have to push the envelope - and I don't sit here and say I don't, I do - and maybe that upsets people sometimes.

"But on this occasion I don't know. All I know is that I no longer work for Welsh Netball because of those two allegations and it was important for people to understand what those allegations were and that I hadn't done anything else.

"I've moved on from Welsh Netball and I wish them all the luck and… next week they're going to be out on the court [at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow] and it's such an amazing event for them to go to and play in. I wish them the greatest success."

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