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Recent revelations regarding paedophilia in football


PloKoon13
Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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For those who are unaware, an article appeared in the Guardian a couple of days ago, discussing sexual abuse inflicted upon young boys in football. It took the form of an interview with an ex-player, who revealed the extent to which he (and five others) suffered at the hands of a trusted coach and youth scout, and the crippling damage it caused to his career and his psychological health.

I was also quite disturbed to read tonight that two more footballers have [anonymously] come forward and revealed that they suffered similar abuse from an associate (who was never caught) of the aforementioned youth scout.

I must admit that I was completely unaware that any of this had ever happened, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the perpetrator named in the first article was initially convicted in 1998. It was not only shocking (for the obvious reasons), but also haunting because I had never considered that anything like this might ever occur in football, despite the fact that, as an immensely popular sport (especially among young people) involving a great deal of potentially intimate interaction between adults and young children, there are, were, and likely will be a myriad opportunities for this horrible offence to be committed.

I suppose what I am getting at is - how deep and how widespread do you think paedophilia in football is? It is possibly naïveté or ignorance on my part that I have never contemplated or heard of such things happening, but I felt a great pang of horror when it hit me that this could potentially be enormous. It is far-fetched perhaps, but it occurred to me that a BBC-grade cover-up might not be entirely inconceivable.

Anyway, I imagine this story will be getting quite a lot of attention over the next days, weeks, and months, so I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

 

 

N.B. Obviously this is a very volatile subject which will cause tempers to run high (I remember the discussion which occurred on here when a teacher ran off to France with one of his underage students) so I would urge everyone to try and remain civil. Also, while it is public record (and even mentioned in the articles I've linked above), I've deliberately omitted any names to avoid this thread simply evolving into an auto-da-fé.

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I will also add that any speculation about who may or may not be involved in such things would be in incredibly poor taste.


*quietly shelves my Wenger joke*

Seriously though, I can't imagine it's more than a few isolated (very sad) instances. I really doubt this is endemic across many clubs and leagues
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9 hours ago, Qaz said:

 

 


*quietly shelves my Wenger joke*

Seriously though, I can't imagine it's more than a few isolated (very sad) instances. I really doubt this is endemic across many clubs and leagues

 

I sincerely hope you are right!

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I remember this type of thing being a big deal in Scotland a long time ago with Celtic. I always hoped that was an isolated incident.

Realistically we now know paedophilia was fairly widespread all those years ago and it would not be a huge shock to hear this kind of thing went on.

Heart-breaking.

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When you think of the number of kids that play football, you have to be awfully naïve to be surprised. I think the percent of kids sexually abused by a coach is small, but a small percentage of a huge number of kids is still a worrisome number of cases. 

Sadly, it's pretty much inevitable that there will be some cases of sexual abuse whenever you have these power dynamics between children and adults. It happens in so many sports. It also happens with older relatives, clergy, etc.

Kids are terrified and ashamed to speak out because they might not be believed. In an American figure skating case, parents heard a coach was sexually abusing skaters, but the coach had influence in the federation and could destroy the skater's career, so the parents turned a blind eye. When you've invested so much money and time into your kid's sports career, denial becomes very powerful. In Australia, multiple swimmers went to the national federation to report being molested by a national swim coach, but the federation never investigated.  

One of my classmates was sexually abused by her brother, and her parents didn't believe her.

Kids are terrified that they might not be believed, but I think they are also terrified that they might be believed.

People might bully them for what happened. Do you really think no football fans would bully an opposing player who admits to having been sexually abused? Do you really think every dressing room has a culture sympathetic to abuse victims? Do you think no female victim will be called a whore? In some cultures being a victim of sexual abuse is grounds for being disowned or even killed. In every culture it's grounds for being the subject of gossip. 

Furthermore, sometimes adults believe the kid, but they don't care. Look at all the cases involving the Catholic church. Penn State University kept a coach for decades despite knowing that he had abused boys. The USA Gymnastics federation kept a team doctor despite knowing he had abused girls. Same with a Canadian hockey coach. I'm sure there are cases in the UK as well. 

When a kid reveals the abuse, they are taking a huge risk. If they're not believed, or they're believed but the people who know don't care, it's a worse outcome than if they never said anything.

Abusers tend to be particularly good at targeting kids who are more submissive and are good at convincing the kids, perhaps truthfully, that things will be worse if they say anything. As a result, there are many cases in which other adults genuinely have no idea. 

Edited by offside
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Sickening. We have a similar case in Norway at the moment(not football related) and its gutwrenching to see the numbers of people involved in this sort of sh*t.

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We now have a revelation from another top tier footballer. David White confirms that he too was sexually abused by Barry Bennell. 

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/nov/23/david-white

I'm so grateful to Andy Woodward for breaking the silence. Now other players feel comfortable revealing their abuse. 

I hope that if there are other abusers, the abusees will now feel the courage to come forward so that the abusers can be brought to justice. 

Edited by offside
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I think that everyone's feelings on this his site will be the same towards this subject. Complete sympathy and sadness for the victims and contempt for the vile scum that  carried out these acts. I wonder if Gary Speed was a long suffering victim?  

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22 hours ago, stevo said:

I think that everyone's feelings on this his site will be the same towards this subject. Complete sympathy and sadness for the victims and contempt for the vile scum that  carried out these acts. I wonder if Gary Speed was a long suffering victim?  

From what I've read, Gary Speed had a small amount of contact with Bennell, but it wasn't nearly to the level of the known victims who were in the Crewe academy. It's certainly possible that Speed was abused by Bennell or someone else, but keep in mind that severe depression is a complex disease, and many people who suffer from it were not abused. 

While I think that in the abstract football fans hold the same feelings toward the abusees and abusers that you mention, and I certainly like to think that it would apply if it came out that kids in our academy were abused, in the concrete I fear that it would be easier for some fans and club officials - emphasis on some - to feel negatively toward the abusees for making the club look bad for something that happened decades ago. Think about how long Sunderland turned a blind eye to the Adam Johnson case. 

23 hours ago, Charles Ryder said:

Apparently it's rife in US swimming, really harrowing but worth reading article.

 

http://www.outsideonline.com/o/outdoor-adventure/water-activities/swimming/The-Sex-Abuse-Scandal-Plaguing-USA-Swimming.html

I'm aware of a non-public case of a female swimmer who was sexually assaulted by a male swimmer at her swim club. As the male swimmer was one of the club's stars and an Olympic hopeful, while she was a good but not great swimmer. She told another female swimmer who then told the club head coach. The club head coach from then on made her miserable and pushed her out of the club. 

An Australian national swimming coach, Scott Volkers, was deemed undroppable despite abusing three swimmers because his results as a coach were very good. 

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/scott-volkers-swimming-coach-accused-of-child-abuse-too-good-to-sack-20140711-zt3hq.html

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It occurred to me that many members of this board played football when they were young. I really hope that none of you were abused, but if you were, there is now a special hotline set up for football players to report the abuse. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/24/nspcc-launches-hotline-for-sexually-abused-footballers

Many abusees struggle with suicidal feelings. If you are experiencing suicidal feelings, whether or not you were abused, I recommend calling Samaritans UK. They are good in that they won't automatically be like "OMG call the police, get them involuntarily committed to a hospital" (this is still the policy for some Samaritans branches outside the UK and I think there are some cases in the UK where the volunteers have to act but it's not the default to take overbearing action), which can often make things even worse for the sufferer. The number is 116 123. If this number doesn't work on your phone, you can call a local branch (http://www.samaritans.org/branches) or their old number (08457 90 90 90) where you'll first hear a message about their new phone number, and -  I think -  if you stay on the line after the message you'll be connected.  

Please also consider donating and/or volunteering. 

Edited by offside
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25 minutes ago, PloKoon13 said:

Deary me

Screengrab of Eric Bristow's tweet.

 

He also went on to imply that the victims of sexual abuse are "wimps" for not doing what he said above.

Listening to TalkSport this morning and stand-in presenter Max Rushden (decent bloke) was criticizing Bristow saying along the lines he's an idiot and of a different era.

Found it kinda funny as regular host Alan Brazil would probably be of a similar opinion to Bristow!

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Nibs said:

Listening to TalkSport this morning and stand-in presenter Max Rushden (decent bloke) was criticizing Bristow saying along the lines he's an idiot and of a different era.

Found it kinda funny as regular host Alan Brazil would probably be of a similar opinion to Bristow!

 

 

The "of a different era" line is insulting to people of that age. Bristow said that because he's an ignorant insensitive piece of sh*t, not because of his age. 

Edited by offside
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41 minutes ago, offside said:

The "of a different era" line is insulting to people of that age. Bristow said that because he's an ignorant insensitive piece of sh*t, not because of his age. 

Well said! (spoken as someone only a little younger than him).

Oh, and he's been fired by Sky for his comments now (not that I knew he had one).  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/darts/38141331

Edited by Beerqueen
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I am glad this come out. 

The FA have done an incredible job with safeguarding policies, procedures and training in recent years. I hope that this coming out helps to highlight the issue so it continues to focus and attention

 

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