By Andrew Warshaw
November 30 – The chairman of the English Football has labelled the on-going child sex abuse scandal as one of the biggest crises in the history of the governing body.
The scandal that began two weeks ago when former players accused former coach and convicted paedophile Barry Bennell of historical abuse has now expanded with more than 20 ex-footballers coming forward with allegations and five separate regional police forces launching investigations into the claims while the FA has opened its own review.
When asked if offences could have been swept under the carpet in the past, Clarke told reporters: “I don’t know if there was a cover-up or not, I really don’t know.
“I suspect like many big problems, people aren’t drawn towards them. My methodology is, if there’s a problem, run towards it, embrace it, fix it, disclose everything that happened.
“I think institutionally, all organisations in the old days used to protect themselves by keeping quiet and closing ranks. That’s completely inappropriate and unacceptable today.
“It’s certainly the biggest (crisis) I can remember. I think the moral consequences of failing to deal with some of these issues in the past we must get to the bottom of.”
News has emerged via the BBC that The Football Association scrapped a flagship project meant to ensure children were being protected from sexual abuse in 2003. The project was meant to run for a further three years.
The five-year research study was commissioned by the FA in 2001 to assess child protection across all clubs and interviewed 189 children and spoke to senior coaches, referees and administrators across all levels of the game.
However, according to an evaluation, the project reportedly ran into resistance from inside the Football Association. It is maintained that some staff at the organisation had been bullied into not talking, and that information had not been provided on time or in enough detail.
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