A football coaching company run by former Hartlepool United manager Martin Scott has been given the boot from a school.
Kepier School in Houghton, Sunderland, terminated its contract with its football academy coaching provider Improtech Soccer after it said it had received complaints from parents.
It is understood the allegations centre around comments made to pupils.
The Mail understands all the allegations were refuted by Improtech and Durham Football Association said it had referred the matter to the FA’s Safeguarding Unit.
It also runs programmes at English Martyrs School in Hartlepool and Sunderland College.
A spokesman at English Martrys School backed the firm, adding: “The safeguarding of all of our students is our paramount concern. I have had discussions with representatives from Kepier Academy and Improtech in order to consider any implications for our students at English Martyrs. Our Improtech coach has been unwavering in his dedication and respect for each of our students in the academy.
“He has built fantastic, purposeful and respectful relationships with our students and their parents.
“We will be meeting with parents of all students in the football academy to reassure them that our vision of providing first class football coaching, alongside a quality academic curriculum, will continue in the existing atmosphere and environment of respect and positive regard.”
Improtech’s website says it aims to “develop the Elite Academy Player into professional footballers who not only have good moral values but also a discipline, drive and a professional attitude to succeed”.
A spokesman for Improtech said: “Improtech can confirm it is no longer acting as a supplier to Kepier Academy.
“The company is proud of its successful track record at Kepier since it was introduced to the school in 2011, and Improtech and Kepier pioneered academy football in education in England.
“Along the way we have successfully coached 100s of talented young players, several of whom have gone on to earn professional contracts at the three big North East clubs and further afield.
“We have taken the school to national footballing finals and formed productive and lasting relationships with dozens of players and their parents and enjoyed a harmonious relationship with the school. We wish continued success for all the players at the school and the school itself in the future.”
A spokesman for Durham County Football Association said: “We are aware of the allegation which has reported to The FA Safeguarding Unit.”