An independent review of historical child sexual abuse in Scottish football has called for clubs to make a “clear” and “unreserved” public apology to victims.
Reacting to the long-awaited report, the Scottish Football Association’s chief executive said he was “deeply upset” by a report based on “deeply personal, traumatic experiences”.
The report concluded that in the vast majority of claims which date back to the 1970s, no-one in Scottish football knew for certain about the abuse when it occurred but the review says suspicions in some cases could have been investigated.
It features victim testimonies which name Rangers, Hibernian, Partick Thistle, Motherwell and Celtic Boys Club in accounts of abuse.
In his report, its author Martin Henry, a children’s charity official, writes: “Although we are clear that the direct responsibility for the alleged abuse of these young people and the consequent harm lies with the men who perpetrated, or are said to have perpetrated these acts, we are also very aware of the accountability which lies with clubs and organisations in football since these shared a duty of care to the young people in their charge.
“Apology should be made not just because the review recommends it, but more importantly because it is the right thing to do.”
Responding to the 191-page report, Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “I am deeply upset by the contents of the final report into sexual abuse in Scottish football and, in particular, by the deeply personal, traumatic experiences endured by young players who were abused by people in whom they and their families placed their trust.
“I reiterate my sincerest apology on behalf of Scottish football to all who have experienced abuse in our national game.
“The report also recognises the progress that the Scottish FA and its members have made to achieve the highest standards of wellbeing and protection for children and young people to play our national sport safely today.
“As the report also states, football provides a tremendous outlet for young people in Scotland and it is the responsibility of everyone involved in Scottish football to protect and cultivate that for future generations.”
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