Ex-Chelsea player wants more compensation
Former Chelsea player Gary Johnson said on Thursday he should receive more financial compensation from the club after being sexually abused by its former chief scout.
It recently emerged that Chelsea, the current Premier League leader, paid Johnson 50,000 pounds ($63,850) in 2015 to not go public with his allegations against Eddie Heath, who died in the 1980s.
Chelsea waived the confidentiality clause in the agreement in order to publicly apologize to Johnson, but he said the money was “not enough for the pain and suffering I’ve had”.
He told BBC television: “It took away my childhood — I can never get that back.”
Johnson revealed he met three Chelsea directors on Wednesday and they apologized for the abuse to which he was subjected during his time with the club.
Asked if he felt he deserved more from Chelsea, he replied: “Yes. It would help me build a better life.
“I was pushed into a corner
and told I had to sign it to get the money.”
Johnson is one of several former players to have spoken out about being abused by youth coaches during their formative years in a scandal that has rocked British soccer.
London’s Metropolitan Police said it had opened a formal investigation into non-recent allegations involving clubs in the capital.
It did not say which clubs were being probed.
Detective chief superintendent Ivan Balhatchet said all allegations would be handled “sensitively” and “very seriously”.
Twenty-one British police forces are investigating claims of sexual abuse in youth soccer, with hundreds of people reporting abuse.
England’s Football Association has also opened an investigation.
Later on Thursday, news website The Independent obtained details of an Football Association-backed investigation into child protection measures in what was intended to be a four-year project in 2001 but was prematurely terminated in 2003.
The report from the FA’s Child Protection in Football Research Project 2002-06, written in 2004, said researchers were treated with suspicion by officials at soccer clubs, sometimes simply because they had not played the game.
“They (the researchers) were met by some traditionally robust masculine attitudes and failure to accept the relevance of CP (child protection) to that level of the game,” read the report.
“Gaining credibility and establishing (trust from clubs) were considerable challenges, especially where researchers were unable to present credentials as current or former football players.”
A problem that was highlighted — the researchers managed to hold 482 interviews with 189 young players aged 12-17, parents and guardians, referees, managers, coaches and welfare officers — was the inability to keep track of suspected pedophiles inside British sport.
“Someone about whom there were suspicions or alle- gations could not be tracked from one sport to another,” observed the head of research, Prof Celia Brackenridge.
“The Criminal Records Bureau struggled to adapt to such concern and, at the time of our research, that was not seen as a solution.”
Premier League champion Leicester City and Aston Villa have also been drawn into the affair after claims about Ted Langford, who worked as a scout for both clubs.
Langford, who has since died, served a jail sentence in 2007 for sexually abusing four young players during the 1970s and ’80s.
A Leicester spokesman said: “We take the current matter very seriously.
“At present, however, we have no indication of any allegations made against or in relation to Leicester City Football Club.
“We will, of course, investigate fully in the event any further information comes to light.”
A spokesman for Villa said: “The club co-operated fully with the authorities during the investigation at that time (2007).”