Dark Day For Football: FA and Man City Apologise To Child Sex Abuse Victims

Dark Day For Football: FA and Man City Apologise To Child Sex Abuse Victims.

FOLLOWING the publication of a hard-hitting report on the scandal that has rocked the beautiful game of football, the Football Association and Manchester City have issued separate ‘heartfelt’ apologies to the victims of horrendous sexual abuse at the hands of people within the game.

Manchester City has issued a public apology for failing to act over concerns expressed to senior figures at the club about paedophile coach Barry Bennell during the 1980s and the FA has apologised after the Sheldon report revealed on Wednesday, March 17, that it ‘did not do enough to keep children safe’ from sex abuse in football.

Despite high profile convictions from 1995 to May 2000, – including against the game’s most notorious paedophile Barry Bennell – it found the FA should have done more to keep children safe. Those in charge of the national game failed to halt Bennell and ex-Southampton coach Bob Higgins from their involvement in the game.

The report identified at least 240 suspects and 692 survivors. However, it warns that the actual number of victims was likely to be ‘far higher’.

The FA chief executive Mark Bullingham wrote yesterday: “Today is a dark day for the beautiful game.

“One in which we must acknowledge the mistakes of the past and ensure that we do everything possible to prevent them being repeated.

“Today I address the Survivors directly, as the people that matter most. To them I say: You have the deepest admiration of the FA. Your bravery throughout this process has been incredible. Your voices have been so powerful.

“I’d like to start by giving a heartfelt apology on behalf of the Football Association and the English game to all Survivors, that this happened to you within football. No child should ever have experienced the abuse you did.

“What you went through was horrific and it is deeply upsetting that more was not done by the game at the time, to give you the protection you deserved.”

Manchester City, who Bennell was associated with its youth set up between 1975 and late 1979 and then again between 1981 and 1984, also had a second coach implicated in the case. John Broome, who died in October 2010, was first named by City after Bennell was convicted.

The report stated: “The club did not investigate the rumours about Bennell: it should have done. The club should also have examined the circumstances in which boys were staying overnight with Bennell. These were not usual arrangements, even at that time.” Senior management at the club were aware of rumours Bennell was a ‘kiddie fiddler’ and that that he would lure victims to his house where he had a jukebox and exotic pets.

However, they failed to act on the information and ‘should have done so’, according to the independent review of abuse at a number of football clubs including Manchester City.

City’s apology read: “The club’s board of directors wishes to apologise publicly and unreservedly for the unimaginable suffering experienced by those who were abused as a result of the club’s association with these men.

“The club also extends its heartfelt regret and sympathy to the multiple family members and friends affected by these traumatic events, the ramifications of which are felt by so many to the present day and will continue to be felt for a long time to come,” said the directors in a statement.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.