The FA has published Clive Sheldon QC’s independent report into allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football.
Clive Sheldon QC spent over four years investigating the FA’s perceived failings from 1970-2005. He has also looked at what clubs knew during that period.
Former footballers made revelations about a culture of abuse among coaches and scouts in youth football. So in 2016, the FA appointed in the QC to carry out an independent review.
The QC finally published his report on March 17, 2020.
In the report’s introduction, the QC says:
I very much hope that everyone involved in administering football today will read this report carefully.
It’s important for its own sake that we understand and acknowledge appalling abuse young players suffered. We need to listen to survivors and properly recognise their suffering.
As well as recognising and facing up to what happened in the past, it is also important that this terrible history is not repeated, and that everything possible is done now to safeguard the current and future generations of young players.
I hope that this Report will make some contribution towards that.
The FA Responds
Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the FA, said:
I am proud to lead the FA and know the positive impact that football can have throughout the country. Getting people active, learning the power of teamwork and having fun together. As a youth team coach, I see that impact every week.
However, today is a dark day for the beautiful game. One in which we must acknowledge the mistakes of the past and ensure that we do everything possible to prevent them being repeated.
Sue Ravenclaw, the FA’s head of safeguarding, has also issued a response:
While the allegations of abuse were non-recent, they rightly forced the FA to take immediate action as the game’s governing body in England. All football authorities in this country share a commitment to keeping children safe in football. There is strong collaboration in safeguarding.
Recommendations From the Report
In his report, the QC makes numerous recommendations for how we can effectively safeguard participants in future.
- The FA should promote safeguarding training for all parents and carers.
- They should also arrange safeguarding training for all players and young people involved in the support.
- FA board and senior management members should undergo safeguarding training every three years.
- The FA’s Board should now appoint a Children’s Safeguarding Champion.
- The FA should also launch an extensive online campaign to spread awareness about safeguarding and reducing risk.