Abuse inquiry head challenges FA to probe sex claims 'with rigour'

Professor Alexis Jay said she would scrutinise its report when it is completed

BY Newstalk 14:35 Friday 16 December 2016, 14:35 16 Dec 2016

Image: IRN

The head of the national sex abuse inquiry is challenging the Football Association to investigate allegations of abuse in the sport with "rigour and integrity".

Professor Alexis Jay said she would scrutinise its report when it is completed and would consider whether to take it in to her overarching inquiry if it is found "lacking".

The abuse inquiry is already looking into 13 other areas and adding any more could delay final publication, she said. 

Professor Jay said she hoped to make substantial progress by 2020 but it is not clear when the inquiry, which has already cost £23m, will finish.

After a troubled two years during which three previous chairwomen left, she has mapped out what she says is a clearer way forward focusing on two main tasks:

"Unravelling institutional failures of the past and making meaningful recommendations to keep children safe today and in the future."

She has announced a series of public hearings for 2017, the first looking at abuse of child migrants overseas with a public hearing expected in February.

Further public hearings will be held later in the year looking at Rochdale Council and the Roman Catholic Church. 

Another area of focus in 2017 will be allegations of abuse involving the late Lord Janner.

"No institution will be beyond the reach of the inquiry," she said.

Professor Jay aims to make some recommendations in an interim report in 2018.

"The message to me is loud and clear: this inquiry must deliver on its promise to expose what went wrong in the past and provide a safer future for today's children," she said.

"On becoming Chair, I said that this inquiry needed a clear direction of travel, that it must overcome the difficulties of the past and that it must deliver in a timely and transparent way.

"It is essential that we move the inquiry forward with renewed vigour."

Professor Jay, who said she did not feel the inquiry was too broad to succeed, added she backed herself to make it work. 

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