A group of footballers who suffered abuse as youth players have set up a support organisation; The Offside Trust, which is an organisation whose aim is to support survivors and protect children from future abuse.
The men hope that by talking openly about what has happened to them, they will help to achieve the aim or eradicating abuse within football.
Since Andy Woodward an ex Crewe Alexandra player came forward to disclose the abuse he suffered the police have identified 526 potential victims of abuse, 184 suspects and are investigating allegations of abuse at 246 clubs.
A victim, Mr Shaw, who suffered abuse whilst at Blackpool Football Club, commented that The Offside Trust is, “fantastic, it’s a great way to break down some of those barriers down that you carry with you.”
Steve Walters is an ex player who helped set up the Trust has said, “ Since we all came together… the numbers and the experiences which we have all shared with one another have been absolutely unbelievable. We didn’t think for one minute there would be so many victims and horrible stories we’ve has to witness from each other, but we can take strength that we can lift that burden off our shoulders and face it.”
Micky Fallon, another former team mate of Mr Woodward said, “We’re one set of guys who are going through the same kind of experience as each other. It’s really important for our healing procedures.”
Another victim Mr Radford, who suffered abuse whilst playing for Southampton criticised the Football Authority for not listening to him when he needed their help and praises The Offside Trust for being there for him and other victims; “ I never had a phone call from the Professional Footballers’ Association, never had a phone call from Southampton Football Club and I think only now, because of what has happened, people at clubs, the FA, they’ve got to answer some questions and start doing more than what they are doing.”
We successfully represent and obtain compensation for clients who have suffered abuse whilst participating in sporting clubs and organisations. We would encourage anyone affected to contact the Police and report their allegations by dialling 101 or via the NSPCC hotline which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
We would urge anyone who would like assistance in pursuing a civil claim to contact us.