LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Manchester City have launched a compensation scheme for survivors of historical child sex abuse in football, the Premier League club have announced.
The scale of abuse among youth teams in Britain came to light in 2016, when a string of ex-footballers, including England internationals, told of the crimes inflicted upon them, including years of being repeatedly raped.
Former football coach Barry Bennell was last year sentenced to 30 years in prison for abusing youth players, with the judge branding him “sheer evil”.
City said they commissioned a review in November 2016 into whether the club was used by Bennell and “any other individual to facilitate alleged sexual abuse of children from 1964 to the present day”.
That review, which is ongoing, led to the “uncovering of serious allegations of child sex abuse in respect of another individual, John Broome.”
Bennell, who was a youth team coach with City and Crewe, was convicted of dozens of offences committed against 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991.
Broome, who is now dead, was involved in City’s youth set-up in the 1960s.
City said the compensation scheme applies to the victims of Bennell and Broome.
“The club’s review remains ongoing and Manchester City FC continues to be restricted as to what it can make public at present for legal reasons,” the club said in its statement.
“The club reiterates, however, its heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences that they endured.
“All victims were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they suffered as a result of their sexual abuse as children.”
The BBC reported that City would offer millions of pounds in compensation and that survivors of the most serious crimes would receive six-figure sums.
The report said City know of 40 potential claimants to their fund but they are braced for more cases.
Britain’s Press Association said it understood that as well as involving financial compensation, the scheme will see victims receive a face-to-face apology from a senior club official.
It is understood the scheme will enable victims to apply for compensation for general damages, impact on career, therapy fees and some legal costs and that some cases could be processed as quickly as within six weeks.
Settlements will have no confidentiality clause and will be kept open for those who prefer to consider pursuing a civil claim.
© Agence France-Presse