MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City has set up a scheme to compensate victims of child sexual abuse experienced at the club.
City on Tuesday launched its redress scheme for survivors following investigations into the conduct of two of its former youth coaches, saying the victims “were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they suffered as a result of their sexual abuse as children.”
The club did not go into precise details about the scheme because of ongoing investigations into historic instances of sexual abuse that have uncovered allegations against John Broome, who worked as a youth coach in the 1960s. Broome died in 2010.
Another former youth coach at City, Barry Bennell, was last year jailed for 30 years after being convicted of 50 child sexual offenses committed between 1979 and 1991.
Described in court as a “child molester on an industrial scale,” Bennell abused young players at his home — described by one complainant as a “paradise” for boys — and on the way to matches and in changing rooms. Boys coached by Bennell told the trial how he had a power-hold over them as they dreamed of becoming professional players.
City said it is focused on completing its investigations to the highest standard and urged any other survivors of sexual abuse to come forward. It said the redress scheme applies to the victims of Bennell and Broome.
“The club reiterates … its heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences that they endured,” City said in its statement .
A lawyer for some of Bennell’s victims said the response from City hasn’t gone far enough.
“We’ve been told at the last minute, before it was made public to journalists, that this scheme was coming out,” Dino Nocivelli told the BBC, “and therefore I take offense to the wording of this being a survivors’ scheme. This is Man City’s scheme, it isn’t for survivors.
“There’s been a lack of due diligence and care given to them. Secondly, they (City) still fail to admit actual responsibility.”
A child sex abuse scandal in English soccer was triggered by the decision of a former player, Andy Woodward, to speak out in November 2016 about abuse he suffered at the hands of Bennell. That sparked many other players to break their silence.
The Football Association, English soccer’s governing body, is overseeing an independent inquiry into historical sex abuse in the game. The inquiry is due to report its findings in the coming months.