Abuse scan­dal coach in hos­pi­tal over ‘fear for wel­fare’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The pae­dophile coach at the cen­tre of an abuse scan­dal that has rocked English foot­ball has been taken to hos­pi­tal by po­lice re­spond­ing to a “fear for wel­fare in­ci­dent” it was an­nounced yes­ter­day.

Barry Ben­nell has been at the cen­tre of nu­mer­ous rev­e­la­tions af­ter for­mer Crewe Alexan­dra player Andy Wood­ward came for­ward to re­veal he was abused by the con­victed child mo­lester in the 1980s. A state­ment is­sued by Thames Val­ley po­lice yyes­ter­day re­fer­ring to Ben­nell said: “Po­lice of­fi­cers at­tended an ad­dress in Kneb­worth Park, Steve­nage (north­west of Lon­don) just be­fore 11:00pm (2300 GMT) on Fri­day, Novem­ber 25 in con­nec­tion with a fear for wel­fare in­ci­dent. “A 62year-old man was lo­cated and was taken to hos­pi­tal in or­der to re­ceive med­i­cal treat­ment, where he re­mains.

“At this stage of en­quiries, it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment fur­ther.” The Guardian news­pa­per, the first to in­ter­view Wood­ward, re­ported that Ben­nell had been found un­con­scious.

Ben­nell, who worked for Crewe, Manch­ester City and Stoke City, sex­u­ally abused young boys across three decades from the 1970s onwards. He was given a four-year sen­tence for rap­ing a Bri­tish boy dur­ing a foot­ball tour of Florida in 1994 and a nine-year sen­tence for 23 of­fences against six boys in Eng­land in 1998.

He was jailed again in 2015 for abus­ing a boy at a foot­ball camp in Mac­cles­field, north­west Eng­land, in 1980. Sun­day saw Eng­land’s gov­ern­ing Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion re­act to the re­cent rev­e­la­tions by an­nounc­ing it had ap­pointed lead­ing lawyer Kate Gal­lafent, an ex­pert in child pro­tec­tion, to as­sist it with an in­ter­nal re­view of the al­le­ga­tions. The FA said the re­view would find out “what in­for­ma­tion the FA was aware of at the rel­e­vant times around the is­sues that have been raised in the press, what clubs were aware of, and what ac­tion was or should have been taken”.

Gal­lafent will then make rec­om­men­da­tions “to en­sure these sit­u­a­tions can never be re­peated”. Gor­don Taylor, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Eng­land’s Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said the num­ber of play­ers who had made sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions was now over 20, with up to seven clubs con­cerned.

“From that time, of those who be­came ap­pren­tices and se­nior play­ers, over 20 play­ers have come for­ward,” Taylor told BBC Ra­dio 5 Live. Asked to name the clubs touched by the al­le­ga­tions, Taylor said: “We’d start at Crewe, go to Man City, Stoke, Black­pool, New­cas­tle, Leeds...

“I’m ex­pect­ing there will be more. I think we have six or seven clubs.” Four English po­lice forces-Lon­don’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice, Hamp­shire Po­lice, Cheshire Po­lice and Northum­bria Po­liceare look­ing into the al­le­ga­tions.

Crewe an­nounced on Satur­day they had ap­pointed an ex­ter­nal lawyer to carry out an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the way they dealt with al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing Ben­nell.—AFP

BOS­TON: Tampa Bay Light­ning’s On­drej Palat (18), of the Czech Repub­lic, tries to get a shot off on Bos­ton Bru­ins’ Tuukka Rask (40), of Fin­land, dur­ing the first pe­riod of an NHL hockey game in Bos­ton, Sun­day. — AP

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