All clubs linked to historical sex abuse will face "consequences" - Premier League chief

The Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore has been speaking publicly for the first time since the allegations came to light

BY Newstalk 07:10 Tuesday 13 December 2016, 7:10 13 Dec 2016

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, File photo. 06-10-15 Image: Jonathan Brady PA Wire/PA Images

The head of the Premier League has said all football clubs linked to historical child sex abuse claims will be asked to account for their actions.

Richard Scudamore has been speaking publicly for the first time since the allegations came to light.

He said he had confidence in current safeguarding measures for children, and that all clubs were reviewing their practices.

"It is horrible the idea that would happen in a sporting context, in a football context, and our first reaction is sympathy for the victims and survivors," he said.

"The FA and police are quite rightly going back over these historical cases and seeing what can be done.

"Everybody is doing their own review. All the clubs are going back and double checking and re-checking to ensure that nothing like this could ever happen."

Premier League leaders Chelsea have been linked to the scandal after it emerged that the club paid compensation to a former player, Gary Johnson - and agreed a confidentiality clause.

Mr Scudamore said he could not comment on the specifics but said the league would examine all cases where clubs are linked to allegations.

"I am involved in that (Chelsea) as a regulator so will not comment publicly. But there will be consequences, all clubs that have been referenced in any reports of abuse will have to go back and look at what happened at the time.

"It is difficult, there are often no records, some of the employees may be dead, certainly no longer employed by the clubs but it has to be done and when all the data has been compiled from the enquiries we will look at it."

Mr Scudamore was chief executive of the Football League in the late 1990s when a documentary on child abuse in football aired.

Asked if anything had crossed his desk at the time or if he was aware of any action taken by the FA he said: "No, nothing at all, it was dealt with by the authorities.

"The Charter for Quality (a system for licensing clubs) had only just come in. When I started at the Premier League in 1999 there was new law, child protection we called it back then, and we worked very hard to make sure all the safeguarding procedures were there.

"These things were just not out there then. We are shining a 2016 light on what happened in the past. That is how we learn from the past to make sure it is not repeated.

"I absolutely am confident but not complacent that we have the right schemes and policies in place today.

"The clubs take it enormously seriously but they are not complacent because at any point incidents can happen, and that is what we are focusing our efforts on."

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