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FA launch review into sex abuse allegations

The Football Association (FA) has set up an internal review to look into allegations of sexual abuse in football.

Independent leading counsel Kate Gallafent QC has been tasked with assisting the FA and overseeing the process.

English football’s governing body has stressed it is working closely with police to support its investigations alongside its own review.

“The FA has instructed independent leading counsel Kate Gallafent QC to assist it with a review into the abuse cases which have recently come to light,” the FA said in a statement on Sunday.

“The FA had already initiated an internal review which Ms Gallafent will now oversee, while it continues to also prioritise victim support and providing full assistance to on-going police inquiries.

“At this time, with acknowledgement that a wide-ranging inquiry may be required in time, we are working closely with the police to support their lead investigations and must ensure we do not do anything to interfere with or jeopardise the criminal process.

“The internal review will look into what information The FA was aware of at the relevant times around the issues that have been raised in the press, what clubs were aware of, and what action was or should have been taken.

“Ms Gallafent will make recommendations in order to seek to ensure these situations can never be repeated.”

The FA also confirmed the Child Protection in Sport Unit will carry out an audit on its current practices to ensure they are of the necessary standard.

That work will begin at the start of 2017.

On Saturday, Crewe Alexandra announced they have launched an independent review into claims of historical child abuse against a coach previously employed by the club.

Former Manchester City winger David White and ex-Crewe players Andy Woodward and Steve Walters have accused former Crewe employee Barry Bennell of abusing them when they were young footballers.

Bennell was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1998 after he admitted sexual offences against six boys and the 62-year-old has since been handed a further two sentences for charges relating to child abuse. 

Former England international Paul Stewart has also told of how he suffered abuse at the hands of an unnamed coach as a young player, with Stewart revealing this abuser used Bennell’s crimes in an attempt to legitimise the incidents.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, has said more than 20 players have come forward to his organisation to seek help over abuse.

Sun 27 Nov, 2016
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