Following former footballers coming forward to say that they were sexually abused as boys playing in youth teams, the Football Association (FA) has confirmed that they will work with the Police to investigate the allegations.
The FA has set up an internal review which will examine what knowledge the FA had at the relevant times and what steps should have been taken. They have appointed Kate Gallafent a Barrister with experience in Child Protection to assist with the review. The Child Protection in Sport Unit is also to carry out an independent audit of the FA’s practices.
The Professional Footballer’s Association’s (PFA) Chief Executive Gordon Taylor has said, “More that 20 former footballers have come forward regarding the allegations of sexual abuse. The alleged abuse occurred to footballers aged 6 to 16, when players were vulnerable young people. It is the situation that they are put in, the fear of telling anyone, the power of the paedophile over him and what he wanted to do for himself and his parents to achieve his dream of being a professional footballer.”
Crewe Alexandrea has commenced their own investigations into youth football coach Barry Bennell who has been convicted of sex offences against children. Former youth players, Chris Unsworth and Jason Dunford have also alleged that they were abused by Bennell.
Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has stated, “victims of sexual abuse in football must come forward. Come and give tour story, you will be listened to and believed. The only way we can find out what happened is by getting evidence, letting the police do their investigations as appropriate and making sure we understand what went wrong.”
The NSPCC has set up a hotline with the support of the FA for people affected by sexual abuse at football clubs. It is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
We successfully represent and obtain compensation for clients who have suffered abuse. We would advise anyone affected to contact the Police and report their allegations. We are able to offer assiatance to anyone who wants help in pursuing a civil claim.
On the 14th December 2016 former football coach Barry Bennell was remanded in custody after appearing at the South Cheshire Magistrates Court via Video Link.
The 62 years old was charged with five counts of indecent assault on a boy, two counts of inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency and 1onecount of assault with intent to commit buggery.
All of the alleged offences happened between 1981 and 1985 and relate to the same victim who was under the age of 15 at the time the alleged offences were committed. One of the assaults took place at Butlins, two at Furness Vale and the others in Nantwich.
Bennell spoke only to confirm his date of birth and his address which was given as no fixed abode.
He is due to appear at Chester Crown Court on the 11th January 2017.