Football clubs urged to apologise for historic sex abuse

A independent report studying allegations dating back to the 1970s was published on Thursday.

Football clubs urged to apologise for historic sex abuse SNS Group

Scottish football clubs have been urged to apologise to survivors of historic child sex abuse.

A independent report studying allegations against club officials, coaches, referees and scouts dating back to the 1970s was published on Thursday.

It concluded that in the vast majority of claims, no one in Scottish football knew for sure about the abuse at the time, but said suspicions in some cases could have been investigated.

Scottish FA repeated its apology for past failings and urged clubs named in the report to do the same.

Offering an apology was “the right thing to do”, the report said.

A host of Scottish football clubs are named in testimony from 33 survivors published in the report, which was led by former children’s charity boss Martin Henry.

The authors said they were “struck by how easy it was for these adults (with a sexual interest in children and young people) to navigate Scottish football in such a way as to make their activities accomplishable and to maximise secrecy and concealment”.

Some people accused in the report have died, while others have been convicted of offences.

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “I am deeply upset by the contents of the final report into sexual abuse in Scottish football and, in particular, by the deeply personal, traumatic experiences endured by young players who were abused by people in whom they and their families placed their trust.

“I reiterate my sincerest apology on behalf of Scottish football to all who have experienced abuse in our national game.

“The report also recognises the progress that the Scottish FA and its members have made to achieve the highest standards of wellbeing and protection for children and young people to play our national sport safely today.”

Martin Henry, chair of the Independent Review of Child Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football, said: “It is to be hoped that the voices of those affected will now be heard and I hope today provides some assurance and a sense of personal justice and vindication.

“I am heartened by the progress made so far in Scottish football, but today should not be considered the end of this journey but a critical juncture to provide context to the work that is under way and which must continue.”

Joanna Barrett, policy and public affairs manager at NSPCC Scotland, said: “Children have been badly let down by Scottish football’s child protection policies in the past, which has resulted in devastating impacts on people’s lives.

“The courage and dignity shown by those who have come forward and reported abuse is immense. They deserve to see a radical transformation in the game’s safeguarding.

“It is so important that those who have been subjected to sexual abuse are encouraged to come forward and that they have the confidence they will be listened to and allegations will be thoroughly investigated.”

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