Sexual violence against children: a report denounces the “failures” of the English Football Federation

The English Football Association (FA) experienced inexcusable “institutional failures” in the protection of children against sexual violence, particularly between 1995 and 2000.

An independent report published this Wednesday, March 17 implicates the English Football Federation (FA) in the protection of children against sexual violence between 1995 and 2000. The FA would have known “institutional failures“inexcusable in this area.”The FA has acted far too slowly to put in place adequate and sufficient child protection measures and to ensure that this protection is taken seriously enough by those involved in the sport. During this period, the Federation did not do enough to keep the children safe“, explains the report.

The investigation, launched in 2016 by the Federation and which covered the period from 1970 to 2005, estimates that notable convictions, including that of Barry Bennell, former coach of the youth teams at Crewe Alexandra in 1995 in the United States, should have bring about a change on this issue, while it took another 5 years for the institution to put specific measures in place.

Convicted five times for acts of pedophilia, Barry Bennell would have continued to exercise his profession, after his release from prison in 2003. The report acknowledges that it is not certain that he served in a club after that date, but the mere fact of not having taken steps to remove him from the football world “could put children in danger“.

The case of Bob Higgins, a youth coach in Southampton and Peterborough, sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2019 for 46 sexual assault on a minor or sexual assault on 24 people between 1971 and 1996, was also mentioned.

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