Trust urges clubs to back fight for jus­tice over abuse claims

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The men be­hind an in­de­pen­dent body launched yes­ter­day in the wake of foot­ball’s abuse scan­dal urged the clubs in­volved to apol­o­gise and sup­port the fight for jus­tice. The Off­side Trust was launched to help vic­tims of abuse and will work sep­a­rately from the English Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

The trust has been cre­ated by Andy Wood­ward, Steve Wal­ters and Chris Unsworth, who were all the vic­tims of his­toric child abuse. Two weeks ago Wood­ward waived his anonymity to re­veal he was the vic­tim of sex­ual abuse while a youth player at Crewe in the 1980s. Since Wood­ward came for­ward there have been 18 po­lice forces in­volved in in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­cern­ing 450 al­leged vic­tims.

“An apol­ogy would be a start. At least we have that and can move for­ward,” Wood­ward told re­porters in Manch­ester at the launch. “The sheer size and scale of the prob­lem is il­lus­trated by the fact that over 860 vic­tims have come for­ward in the last few days. “It is clear that abuse has ex­isted on a ma­jor scale for many years. This trust will sup­port all of those who are vic­tims of abuse to in­clude their fam­i­lies and chil­dren.

“We also hope that those who ben­e­fit from sport to in­clude the FA, the PFA, the Premier League and other stake­hold­ers sup­port and do­nate to the trust. “We want to fight for jus­tice. We want re­form and be able to move for­ward to pro­tect chil­dren in all walks of life be­cause we went through it. We just want to help peo­ple.”

Wal­ters re­vealed that nei­ther he nor Wood­ward have been con­tacted by Crewe since they de­cided to come for­ward.

“From Crewe there is noth­ing. They have let us suf­fer all of our lives. You would not be­lieve how many there are to come out. “The clubs have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. To me to get an apol­ogy would make a hell of a dif­fer­ence.

“Surely a foot­ball club who looked af­ter chil­dren surely it’s their re­spon­si­bil­ity? A lit­tle state­ment, a bit of dig­nity. They have to take their head out of the sand. Apol­o­gise.”

The Trust, which will be ad­min­is­tered by the Manch­ester legal firm Pros­per­ity Law LLP, have asked for dona­tions from the FA, Foot­ball League and the PFA, as well as urg­ing play­ers and other com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions and stake­hold­ers to sup­port vic­tims.

Wal­ters added: “We need more help and pub­lic­ity, sup­port from high pro­file sports­man. There is thou­sands of foot­ballers, there are lots of peo­ple who can sup­port us.” — AFP

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