The Football Authority ( FA) have been criticised for failure to do more to monitor the former Southampton Coach, Bob Higgins. Harry Redknapp has said that, “rumours about Bob Higgins were rife for years.”
Bob Higgins is the ex Southampton Coach who is facing claims of historical sexual abuse. Mr Higgins left Southampton when concerns were raised about his behaviour. In 1992 Higgins was acquitted of sexual abuse charges, allegations which he denied.
After leaving Southampton Higgins moved to Winchester City FC were he remained for a few months. It is thought that Winchester City was shown a programme made by the BBC which showed testimonies of eight victims who alleged assault by Higgins. Winchester City then decided it was inappropriate for him to remain at the club. Following this Higgins went on to work for two other clubs and was working for Fleet Town until three weeks ago.
Redknapp expresses surprise that Higgins continued to work in football even after the BBC’s documentary and told BBC, “Until you can actually prove something, or there is a it of evidence it is very difficult, but I certainly think that the FA could have certainly done a bit more to monitor him and make sure that he wasn’t allowed back in football.” The Football League in 1989 warned its clubs about Higgins. A letter was sent to clubs advising them not to become involved with his youth football academy, but no reasons were provided in the letter.
The Police and Social Services sent a letter to schools and youth groups in 1997, “warning them that Mr Higgins poses a risk to children.” Despite this Higgins continued to work in football. It is understood that Fleet Town did not carry out any police checks for him when he started work with them in 2012 as his post did not involve working with children.
Six former Southampton players have come forward with allegations concerning Higgins. The Hampshire Police and the club are investigating the allegations.
In response the FA have announced a review which they have appointed Clive Sheldon QC to lead. In a statement the FA has said, “The FA has today published the full terms of reference for the review into issues arising from recent press reported relating to allegations of non recent sexual abuse in football.”
In relation to the allegations made against Higgins, many feel that their response is a little too late.
Harry Redknapp is encouraging other players to come forward with information.
We would also encourage anyone affected to come forward. Jordans are currently representing a large number of clients who have suffered abuse. If you would like assistance in pursuing a claim we would urge you to contact us.