Football Association sets up own child sex abuse inquiry

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The governing body of British fooball has set up its own internal review into whether clubs knew what was going on with child abuser Barry Bennell.

The Football Association (FA) will be probing what Crewe and Manchester City knew about coach Barry Bennell after allegations came to light from a number of former footballers that they had been abused by the coach.

FA officials will be investigating whether clubs were in any way aware or suspicious of Bennell at the time of the abuse. So far, four players have come forward to allege that they were abused by Bennell, who was the Crewe Alexandra youth coach as well as being involved at Manchester City and in Stoke.

When former footballer Andy Woodward came forward earlier this week, his brave action led to a number of other ex youth game players speaking out about what had happened to them.

The FA has now brought in Kate Gallafent QC to help it to look into the abuse cases. The body says the scope of its review will include what information the FA and clubs were aware of, what action was or ought to have been taken and who was involved. A full inquiry may follow the initial review. Ms Gallafent has also been asked to make recommendations to make sure lessons have been learned and that such situations do not arise in the future.

In a statement, the FA said: “At this time, with acknowledgement that a wide-ranging inquiry may be required in time, we are working closely with the police to support their lead investigations and must ensure we do not do anything to interfere with or jeopardise the criminal process.”

Crewe has already announced that it will be launching an investigation of its own into how allegations surrounding Bennell’s behaviour were dealt with.