January 17 – A former English league coach has denied eight child abuse offences in the 1980s in a case that came to light late last year, one of many that rocked the sport when several ex-players came forward to describe their suffering.
Barry Bennell, who mainly worked as a talent spotter at lower-league club Crewe Alexandra but also coached at Manchester City and Stoke City and is now 63, appeared in court via videolink from a prison in northwest England and pleaded not guilty to all the charges put before him.
He denied five counts of indecent assault, two counts of inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery. All alleged offences are said to have happened between 1981 and 1986.
Bennell was remanded in custody until March when a further hearing is expected to take place.
Bennell has already served three prison sentences totalling 15 years for multiple offences committed against boys and last month was discharged from hospital after being found unconscious.
Police forces across England have reportedly opened at least 20 cases of sexual abuse against minors in football environments. English FA chairman Greg Clarke says the scandal is one of the biggest challenges the English governing body has faced.
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