An assistant football coach had to separate mayoral candidate Rob Ford from a student player during a heated 2001 dispute between the two men, says a published report.

The confrontation, which the former player says did not turn physical, led to Ford being relieved of his coaching duties at Newtonbrook high school.

Jonathan Gordon, now a 25-year-old soldier in the Canadian Forces, says a vigorous sidelines dispute between himself and his former coach featured a face-to-face screaming match.