Abuse Survivors To Sue Scottish Football Association
Football abuse survivors are to sue Scottish Football Association in what would be a potential landmark case.
The former group of 10 victims that were sexually abused as children whilst they were training as footballers are looking to bring a landmark case against the Scottish Football Association (SFA).
Since 2016 a number of former football coaches have been convicted of sexually abusing young boys during training sessions. This is the first case where legal action is being taken against a governing body.
There are suggestions that the SFA will fight any claim brought against it. A Scottish FA spokesperson said:
“The Scottish FA has the utmost respect for survivors who have come forward. Whilst we cannot at this stage comment on individual cases, we reiterate our offer of support to anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in Scottish football. The Chief Executive has issued a heartfelt apology on behalf of Scottish football to those with personal experience of sexual abuse in our national game.”
War veteran, Malcom Rodger, who was assaulted by ex-coach Barry Bennell, told talkSPORT:
“To be left stranded and the SFA hiding behind their insurance companies and litigators is needless.”
Rodger was also abused by Bill Kelly, who was jailed in 1987 for abusing 12 boys including Rodger over a 22-year period, serving 12 months in prison. Kelly was working for the SFA in West Lothian when he abused the young players at Uphall Saints.
Michelle Gray, whose late brother Andrew was abused by Celtic Boys Club coach Jim Torbett, said:
“The SFA was the governing body. They should have had a duty of care to these children from grassroots football through to if, or when, they signed professional. If the case against the SFA is won, then this will set a precedent and would also allow other claims to brought against government bodies.”
An Independent Inquiry was held into historical child abuse in Scottish Football, in 2016 by Hampden chiefs. The report found that the child protection policies were “not fit for purpose.” The SFA have stated that they:
“ … are making progress on the implementation of recommendations contained in the interim report through the work of our enhanced Wellbeing and Protection department …”
The final report has not been published yet.
Another victim of football abuse at Uphall Saints, Bill Storrie, has called for the Scottish Parliament to launch a public inquiry into the abuse in football.
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