Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/931/24210

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2017

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and accountability

Professional footballers have opened up about their abuse as children, photo by Rick Dikeman (Creative Commons)

Professional footballers have opened up about their abuse as children, photo by Rick Dikeman (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland

Former football player Andy Woodward waived his right to anonymity on 16 November. His story of being sexually abused as a youth player by convicted paedophile Barry Bennell at Crewe Alexandra FC came out in the Guardian.

Significantly, several other footballers then felt encouraged to tell their horrifying stories. Like many victims of child abuse, they have suffered both in their careers and personal lives, carrying the burden of these horrors.

Offside Trust

After giving powerful testimony in the media, players from this group have set up the 'Offside Trust', an independent organisation to support players and their families who have suffered from abuse.

The actions and campaigning of these survivors have resulted in recognition of the huge scale of the abuse. As of 21 December, the National Police Chiefs' Council knew of 429 victims, ranging in age from four to 20 at the time of the abuse, and 155 potential suspects.

148 clubs, spanning all tiers of the game, have been "impacted". The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has received more than 1,700 calls to a dedicated football abuse hotline.

Outrageously, the Football Association (FA) and the clubs failed to act for decades, despite being presented with evidence.

As well as the eventual conviction of abusers like Bennell, Channel 4 aired a Dispatches documentary in 1997 which exposed abusers. Deborah Davies, the journalist who made it, has called on the FA to release a 2005 report which she said detailed 250 victims and was potentially related to dozens of clubs.

Abusers exploited the hold they had as coaches over players' futures. Also, struggling working families often lived long distances from clubs.

Bennell forced situations where players stayed with him - with the knowledge of clubs, who it seems turned a blind eye. There is real concern that Bennell and coaches from other clubs coordinated abuse on a wide scale for decades.

The players involved with Offside Trust have expressed frustration with the slowness of the police in interviewing those who have given testimony. The silence from many clubs, and their continuing attempts to cover up their knowledge of past abuse, should be condemned.

Disgustingly, evidence is building that many survivors have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements with clubs in return for compensation.

As the courageous footballers who have come forward have demanded, all survivors of child abuse need justice and support. The wider 'Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse' continues to be widely mistrusted and rejected by survivors for being linked to the establishment.

Similarly, there is understandable concern at football's governing bodies being trusted to solely run inquiries, given their poor response when presented with evidence in the past.

Inquiries need to be genuinely independent, democratic and accountable - involving survivors' groups, players' union the Professional Footballers' Association, and the wider trade union movement.

They need to be fully publicly funded and have access to all documents held by clubs and governing bodies. The gagging orders must be lifted, and any intimidation of whistleblowers must be exposed and ended.

There needs to be real discussion in football at all levels about safeguarding in the future.

Football is big business-dominated, reflecting capitalist society. In this ruthless profit-driven system there are power imbalances and limited checks on those who wield power. This can be seen in football clubs and at the game's highest levels.

Community

Many coaches who want to contribute to children's development and improve the game are prevented by financial barriers and the undemocratic structures of the game. Fans and players need to reclaim the game.

Football clubs should be democratically run under community ownership. They should be non-profit, as should governing bodies, with the election of all officials and coaches, subject to recall at any time.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 January 2017:


NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown from spending cuts - demonstrate on 4 March!

Sustainability and Transformation plans - a repackaging of cuts

Worcestershire hospital deaths expose NHS crisis


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and accountability

Book review: Spy drama gives insight into capitalist coup plot


What we think

Strikes show workers' power


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Cash for ash' scandal set to bring down Northern Ireland government

May slams 'economic inequalities' Tory policies created

Blair's multimillion plans to fight 'populism'

Bosses earn average salary in under three days

What we saw

Them & Us: 500k house party... 50p for rent


Labour Party

Haringey: pressure grows as Labour council cuts

Sick of sham consultations - give us a real fightback

Khan should attack bosses, not workers


Socialist Party workplace news

Tube strike solid in fight for jobs and safety

Support BA cabin crews' strike for fair pay

Sham Royal Mail pensions consultation - action needed

Unison legal battle looks into allegations 'Team Dave' broke rules during general secretary election

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Build the resistance against Trump

Socialist Party national women's meeting

2016: A record-breaking fighting fund year!

Closing of the children's centres could cost lives


International socialist news and analysis

Palestine/Israel: Everyday life under occupation


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 January 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Football:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleHull City supporters fight to reclaim their club and the game

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Football under capitalism

triangleGentrification on the terraces: fans say twenty's plenty

triangleWomen's football - Sampson allegations

Child abuse:

triangleRacist smears won't stop child sex abuse

triangleSystemic failures hurt kids in justice system

triangleJanner case: more establishment child abuse cover-ups

triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: The child abuse scandals in Britain

Police:

triangleDefend socialist councillor Kshama Sawant against lawsuits

triangleWalkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleBrazil: Psol councillor Marielle Franco murdered

Profit:

triangleHomes for All - Not billionaire profit!

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

Children:

triangleChild poverty to hit 5m by 2021 - strikes can stop the cuts

Media:

triangleSocial media - the potential and the limits

Crewe:

trianglePostal workers march for their jobs

Big business:

triangleJapan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

John Reid:

triangleSouth London tower block residents plan safety campaign

Youth:

triangleTUSC campaigners challenge youth club cuts and closures

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

18/4/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

18/4/18

Film

Vital depiction of fight for Aids prevention and treatment

11/4/18

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

11/4/18

Sexism

Moving look at school students' many perspectives on sexism

11/4/18

Trotsky

Striking analysis in heat of 1917 will deepen any reader's understanding

4/4/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

4/4/18

Obituary

Obituary: Lorraine Dardis (1965-2018)

21/3/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

21/3/18

Obituary

Revolutionary physicist and champion of social causes

14/3/18

Falklands

Gripping spy thriller exposes hypocrisy of Falklands/Malvinas war

14/3/18

The Socialist

International Women's Day

7/3/18

Sexual harassment

Fighting sexual harassment in entertainment

7/3/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

7/3/18

Women

The Socialist inbox: International Women's Day

28/2/18

Kingston

Socialist anti-war exhibition opens in Kingston

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999