English FA to investigate alleged sexual abuse at soccer clubs

Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:53am EST
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By Steve Tongue

LONDON (Reuters) - The English Football Association (FA) has launched an internal review to examine allegations of children being sexually abused at professional soccer clubs.

English soccer's governing body said on Sunday that it had appointed Kate Gallafent QC as leading independent counsel to oversee its investigation after former soccer players told British media on Friday that they were sexually abused as children at English clubs.

British police are already investigating mounting accusations of paedophile activity in youth teams, which victims say has gone unreported for decades.

After accusations this month from former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward, saying he was molested as a boy by talent spotter and convicted paedophile Barry Bennell, other former youth players have gone public with allegations.

Fourth-tier Crewe are looking into the allegations, while Premier League Manchester City are investigating whether Bennell had any association with the club.

Bennell has made no public comment on the allegations.

The FA's internal review will look into what information the association and clubs were aware of at the time of the alleged offences and what action was or should have been taken.

Former Manchester City youth team player Jason Dunford was one of four former players who waived their anonymity to appear in a BBC television program on Friday to say they were abused by Bennell.   Continued...

A man passes behind an engraved logo on the glass door entrance to the Football Association (FA) headquarters in central London December 13, 2007.  REUTERS/Toby Melville