Ex-Chelsea player wants more com­pen­sa­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Lon­don

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.

Project ter­mi­nated

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).”

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