Il sospetto di un “cover-up”, una copertura orchestrata dalle maggiori società, ha perfino offuscato la conferenza stampa di presentazione del nuovo allenatore della nazionale inglese, Gareth Southgate, costringendo Martin Glenn, amministratore delegato della Football Association, seduto al suo fianco, a promettere un’inchiesta interna per punire chiunque sia colpevole di abusi sessuali, “indifferentemente dalle sue dimensioni”, un riferimento alla possibilità che squadre o personaggi famosi possano essere coinvolti nello scandalo. “Dubito che ci sia stato un cover-up”, ha detto Glenn, “ma non posso garantirlo con certezza. Faremo piena luce”.
Intanto a fare luce ci stanno provando un quarto delle forze di polizia dell’Inghilterra, ovvero le autorità di 16 contee, dal Derbyshire al Somerset, dall’Essex al Norfolk, da Manchester a Londra. In appena una settimana, Scotland Yard e altri corpi di polizia hanno ricevuto 350 denunce da parte di vittime di presunti abusi sessuali legati al calcio giovanile e hanno già aperto indagini per individuare i responsabili. Vengono indagati possibili crimini avvenuti anche molto tempo fa, ma la priorità viene data a situazioni in cui il colpevole potrebbe ancora essere attivo come allenatore e a contatto con bambini o ragazzi.
Ancora più alto è il numero di denunce a una linea calda telefonica creata appositamente per le giovani vittime di abusi sessuali nel calcio: la National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Children ha ricevuto 860 chiamate nella prima settimana in cui è entrata in funzione. E il numero di abusi, ammettono con imbarazzo i dirigenti del football nazionale, potrebbe essere infinitamente più alto. “In questo paese abbiamo 3 milioni di persone che giocano a calcio ogni fine settimana”, commenta Glen Clarke, presidente della Football Association. “La scala è enorme, ed è difficile dire se il numero di denunce emerse fino ad ora sia alto o basso”. I giornali non escludono che lo scandalo possa assumere proporzioni più grandi di quello della pedofilia all’interno della Bbc, scoppiato qualche anno fa attorno alla figura del presentatore Jimmy Savile e poi allargatosi a macchia d’olio a numerose personalità del video, o negli orfanatrofi cattolici in Irlanda.
A spingere quelle che per adesso sono centinaia di vittime a parlare è stata la decisione di un piccolo numero di ex-calciatori professionisti di rivelare per la prima volta l’orrore degli abusi sofferti quando giocavano nelle squadre giovanili. L’ultimo a farsi avanti è David Eatock, ex-giocatore del Newcastle, che ha accusato un ex-allenatore del club, George Ormond, di avere abusato di lui. “Volevo piangere ma non riuscivo nemmeno a piangere”, ha raccontato al Guardian.
Un altro ex-allenatore di giovanili al centro dello scandalo, Barry Bennell, più volte condannato per pedofilia ma attualmente in libertà, è stato ricoverato in ospedale dopo un apparente tentativo di suicidio.
Il caso di Barry Bennel, lo scout del City pedofilo seriale 24 novembre 2016
Former footballer Paul Stewart's revelations that he was abused as a child by a football coach has inspired hundreds of men across the country to report their abuse
Children as young as 4 years old are potential victims in the sex abuse scandal in British soccer that might be spreading to other sports.
British police say there have been 819 referrals to Operation Hydrant - the nation-wide investigation into child sex abuse within soccer - and that there are 429 victims between the ages of 4 and 20.
There are 155 potential suspects and 148 clubs spanning the Premier League to the amateur game have been impacted, although not all of them are under investigation.
The National Police Chiefs' Council says while the ''vast majority of referrals relate to football,'' some have come from other sports.
The scandal was sparked by former professionals coming forward about the abuse they suffered as youngsters.
English football clubs accused of ignoring child sex abuse claims, more than 400 players come forward Europe correspondent Steve Cannane Dec 21 2016
Football bosses have raised concerns about a lack of background checks on agents dealing with children as young as 11 amid allegations of historical child abuse in the game.
Non ci sono solo Barry Bennell e George Ormond tra i mostri che hanno imperversato per anni nel calcio inglese. Un altro nome che ricorre spesso e volentieri è quello di Frank Roper. Come anche Eddie Heath, già capo scout del Chelsea negli anni '70, anche Roper non sarà mai portato davanti a un giudice, essendo da tempo scomparso. Ma le accuse post mortem a suo carico sono davvero pesanti. E la fonte principale è un giocatore di fama come , ex centrocampista di Blackpool, Manchester City, Tottenham e Liverpool oltre che della nazionale inglese.
Fiducia totale da parte del Blackpool
"Minacciava di uccidere la mia famiglia"
Two more players have come forward to give disturbing accounts of how coach Frank Roper preyed on young footballers in the North West.
Jon Bottomley, who played in Manchester United’s 1985-86 FA Youth Cup final team, talked of how Roper, who was exposed in Thursday's Sportsmail as the paedophile who abused former England forward Paul Stewart, would groom boys.
Roper, who ran Nova FC based in Stockport, organised trips to play schoolboy teams in the United States, where at least one incident of abuse took place. Bottomley played for Nova and said a boy woke one night to find his shorts pulled down and Roper in his bed.
The incident happened on a trip to California when Nova’s Under 12s and Under 15s had been allowed by Roper to watch X-rated horror films The Exorcist and The Shining.
Bottomley, now 48, said: ‘The boy woke with his shorts around his ankles and Frank in bed next to him. He told me Frank had tried to “do him” and he’d told him to f*** off and hit him. We knew Frank was dodgy but nobody knew what a paedophile was back then.’
Bottomley added: ‘We’d go back to his home. There were boxes of football gear everywhere by Admiral and Umbro and he’d let us take what we wanted.
‘We just thought he was being nice but looking back it was grooming.’
Roper, who died in 2005, would give Bottomley a lift to training and sometimes picked up Stewart, too.
Bottomley said: ‘It was watching Paul Stewart talking about what happened to him which encouraged me to say what I know.’
Des Wroe, a former Bradford footballer, also played for Nova and broke down as he recalled how Roper tried to climb into bed with him and two team-mates.
Roper had arranged for Wroe, who was 14, and his pals to go tenpin bowling in Manchester.
They ended up at Roper’s house around midnight and the boys went to a bedroom where there was a double bed.
Wroe said: ‘I remember one of my pals saying, “I’m nearest to the wall”, as we got into bed. I remember asking myself, “Why does he want to sleep closest to the wall?”
‘I was closest to the door. Frank opened the bedroom door before turning off the light. I’ll never forget it. He was wearing a scruffy blue top and a pair of burgundy boxer shorts.
‘He took the covers off and looked to jump into bed with all of us.
‘I had a horrified look on my face. I don’t know if it was my reaction but he stopped. He just slept on the floor next to us.
‘I feel lucky but I feel guilty. I keep thinking, “Were the boys trying to warn me with that nearest to the wall shout?”
‘Did they know? Had they been abused? Could I have helped?’
Boy's horror at waking to find paedophile Frank Roper in his bed RICHARD MARSDEN SAMI MOKBEL 2 December 2016
Frank Roper gave kids £50 for the arcade, took them abroad and then abused them ADAM CRAFTON JACK GAUGHAN 30 November 2016
Chelsea are drawn into football's sex abuse scandal as club investigate former employee... and FA promise to pay victims in compensation pledge CHARLES SALE MATT LAWTON FOR MIKE KEEGAN 29 November 2016
Ex-Southampton coach accused by six former players as football sex abuse scandal widens 4 December 2016
An average of 80 child sex abuse cases a month have been referred to police over the last year following victims' testimony to an independent inquiry.
The figure emerged as the first report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's (IICSA) Truth Project was published on Thursday amid a growing scandal of historical offences in youth football.
As one strand of the wide-ranging probe, the project was intended to help victims of child sexual abuse share their experiences with the inquiry, allowing it to build a picture of why crimes remain unreported and undetected for so long.
Some 500 people have come forward wanting to attend one of the project's private sessions, IICSA said.
The referrals to the dedicated national police team, under Operation Hydrant, are the result of written submissions and reports received by IICSA as well as evidence from many of the 150 people who have already spoken to the Truth Project itself.
Drusilla Sharpling, a member of the probe's panel who leads the project, said: "We make roughly about 80 (referrals) a month, that's overall.
"It would be rare, in my experience, not to make a referral from the Truth Project because most people are coming to report child sexual abuse and that is a crime.
"Where somebody reports child sexual abuse they are clearly reporting a criminal offence. Our terms of reference require us to report those matters to the police.
"We can do so anonymously if that person wishes."
Ms Sharpling said not every referral would necessarily be a new case or the first time an allegation had been made.
She said: "We would pass any allegations on. Sometimes it's difficult to discern whether there has been a completed criminal investigation or not and we can't put ourselves in the police officers' shoes at that point. It's a matter for the police to investigate."
The new report, the first in a regular series, included the experiences of 45 anonymous men and women, who opened up about abuse including in religious institutions, care homes and schools.
Professor Alexis Jay, the inquiry's fourth chairwoman, said their testimony would help shape its recommendations.
She said: "By publishing the first set of victims and survivors' experiences, we create a permanent record that cannot be swept under the carpet or ignored.
"They will act as a spotlight on the cultures and practices of institutions and serve as an enduring statement so that no-one can again claim ignorance of past institutional failures."
Among the suggestions for changes survivors said they would like to see were lifelong support for victims and a restorative justice approach which would allow victims to confront institutions.
Many reported frustration at institutions for failing to act on allegations initially and for authorities for failing to prosecute the accused.
The inquiry has been beset by problems, including resignations and leadership changes, since it was set up by then home secretary Theresa May in 2014.
Described as the most ambitious public inquiry ever launched in England and Wales, there are suggestions it could cost more than £100 million.
The findings of an internal review into its approach, including its 13 investigative strands, was "imminent", Ms Sharpling said.
Fifteen 'persons of public prominence' from the world of sport — well-known coaches and/or players — are under investigation as part of Operation Hydrant, the umbrella investigation into allegations of 'non-recent' child sexual abuse.
Offences alleged to have occurred at 26 separate sporting venues, including stadiums and training grounds, form part of the same inquiry.
The sexual abuse scandal gets deeper: 15 sports coaches and players from multiple sports under investigation NICK HARRIS ROB DRAPER 26 November 2016
La squadra del Chelsea ha rilasciato pubbliche scuse in relazione alla confessione dell'ex attaccante Gary Johnson, 57 anni, che ha ammesso di aver subito abusi sessuali dall'ex capo degli osservatori del club, Eddie Heath (morto prima che le accuse diventassero pubbliche), nel 1970. In una nota ufficiale, il Chelsea ha affermato che Johnson "ha subito una inaccettabile sofferenza" e ha ribadito di non avere alcuna intenzione di "nascondere alcun abuso venuto allo scoperto". "Siamo impegnati - prosegue il club nella nota - a garantire la sicurezza e il benessere di tutti i bambini e i giovani di cui ci prendiamo cura". Johnson, che ha giocato in prima squadra tra il 1978 e il 1981, si è unito al Chelsea nel 1970, quando aveva appena 11 anni. Nel 2015 ha ricevuto dal club 50mila sterline, a suo dire per evitare di rendere nota la sua storia.
Chelsea 'apologise profusely' to Gary Johnson after ex-player was sexually abused by former scout Eddie Heath NICK HARRIS 3 December 2016
Chelsea paid £50,000 to Eddie Heath sex abuse victim Gary Johnson T LAWTON FOR CHARLES SALE 1 December 2016
Chelsea chief scout accused of child sex abuse once trained Barry Bennell, it emerges 30 NOVEMBER 2016
Almost 1,000 investigations into allegations of rape and other serious sexual crimes were dropped by police within 24 hours, figures show The Mail on Sunday 4 December 2016
The PSNI is investigating a number of allegations in to historical child sex abuse linked to football clubs in Northern Ireland.
It is not known what football clubs the allegations are linked to. It was revealed on the BBC Stephen Nolan Show.
Child Protection Expert Jim Gamble said he was not surprised at the revelations.
Police probe claims of historical sex abuse at Northern Ireland football clubs Claire Williamson 06/12/2016
Billy Seymour claims he was molested by Southampton coach Bob Higgins when he played for the club between the ages of 12 and 14.
Higgins continued working in the game until this year, despite letters to clubs in 1989 saying the Football League 'opposed' his academy for young players.
'It's sickening': Former player who says he was repeatedly abused by Southampton coach slams football authorities over 'ignored warnings' Richard Spillett for MailOnline
Montagu and North Fenham boys club has a proud history of developing players but has also been exposed as a place where two men later convicted of child sex abuse crimes were involved for years
‘The culture was seedy’: the boys club at the heart of north-east football abuse scandal 6 December 2016 David Conn and Nazia Parveen
English Football Association widens scope of review into soccer sex abuse Associated Press Dec. 6, 2016
Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, has backed the Football Association's decision to widen its inquiry into historic sexual abuse in the game but said the final report must be made public.
In a statement, the FA said this was in ''light of the increased scope of the review'', which has been prompted by an avalanche of allegations about sexual abuse in football dating back to the 1970s, and the decision had been made ''with respect to her other professional commitments''.
Damian Collins calls for full disclosure of FA's sex abuse inquiry Press Association 7 December 2016
The Offside Trust is set up after hundreds have come forward, and 55 football clubs have been linked to allegations of abuse.
The lawyer who helped set up a new trust to raise money for footballers who were sexually abused as young players has said some individuals still active in football should be investigated.
Parla l’ex dirigente del Celtic: “Per vent’anni ho fatto sesso con i ragazzini, vivo divorato dai sensi di colpa”.
The 71-year-old former kitman for Celtic, Hibernian and Falkirk, has spoken to the newspaper of a campaign of sexual abuse of young footballers over two decades.
Former Scottish football coach admits to sexually abusing up to 12 boys JILLY BEATTIE 06:00, 7 DEC 2016
Football sex abuse: Le Tissier 'given naked massage' by former coach Dec 7, 2016
Football sexual abuse scandal: how the story unfolded – video James Turner, James Caroll and Mustafa Khalili theguardian 8 December 2016
Dame Kelly Holmes on football child sex abuse: 'More people are going to speak out in sport' December 8, 2016
College Football and Rape Culture Interview With Jessica Luther “There’s something going on in football culture that’s getting that result.” DEC 7, 2016
Youth coach Hugh Stevenson continued in football after child sex claims Mark Daly, Martin Conaghan & Calum McKay BBC Scotland Investigations Unit 9 December 2016
David Eatock, the Former Newcastle United player, says he was sexually abused while at the club.
English football sexual abuse scandal has much in common with the Catholic Church New York Times Dec 14, 2016
More than 30 London football clubs linked to 106 sex abuse claims Toby Meyjes Metro.co.uk13 Dec 2016
Scotland Yard receives 106 allegations of historic sex abuse at London football clubs 14 December 2016
Il Metropolitan police service britannico indaga su 106 denunce di abusi sessuali in decine di club calcistici. Ad annunciarlo è la Bbc, che riporta di indagini in riferimento a casi che sarebbero avvenuti negli scorsi anni (dal 1970 in poi) e finora mai emersi, dopo migliaia di denunce pubbliche giunte nelle scorse settimane.
I club coinvolti sarebbero 30: 4 di questi sono in Premier League, 2 nel Championship, 3 in League one e Two; le restanti 21 appartengono alle serie minori non professionistiche. Molti dei club sono sospettati di aver insabbiato i vari casi con accordi extra-giudiziali.
Stando alle informazioni della polizia, il 98% delle vittime sarebbero di sesso maschile e avrebbero subito abusi fra i 7 e i 20 anni.
Abusi sessuali nel calcio inglese: 106 le denunce Trenta club indagati: 4 militano in Premier League 15 Dicembre 2016
A suspected paedophile was reportedly allowed to continue working in football for several years despite being reported to police and the Scottish Football Association.
Hugh Stevenson, who is now dead, has previously been accused of a number of sexual assaults on children during his time working as both a coach and referee.
According to BBC Sport, however, Stevenson was allowed to carry on working in his roles despite the authorities knowing of the serious allegations.
As a result of the investigation, the SFA has suspended former coach and official Mitch Agnew as it launches its own independent probe into the handling of complaints.
Youth coach 'continued in football after child sex abuse claims' Daniel Lewis, Football League Correspondent December 15, 2016
Operation Hydrant: 300 celebs and politicians included in list of 2,220 child abuse suspects Ewan Palmer December 2, 2015
Rape Attitude 14 MAGGIO 2016