FA Chairman says he cannot rule out sex abuse cover-up

Greg Clarke's comments came off the back of more reports of abuse being made public

FA Chairman says he cannot rule out sex abuse cover-up

Greg Clarke Picture by Adam Davy EMPICS Sport

The FA chairman says he doesn't know if sex abuse in football was covered up, calling it "the biggest crisis I can remember".

Greg Clarke promised to fully disclose any conclusions reached by an independent review into the child sex abuse scandal that is rocking British football - and act upon them. "We're certainly taking it extremely seriously," he said. 

Asked if he could rule out that there had been a cover-up, he said: "I don't know if there was a cover-up or not, I really don't know. I suspect like many big problems people aren't drawn towards them."

"My methodology is, if there's a problem, run towards it, embrace it, fix it, disclose everything that happened."

"I think institutionally all organisations in the old days used to protect themselves by keeping quiet and closing ranks. That's completely inappropriate and unacceptable today".

He said he wasn't "ruling out anything because I haven't got the facts yet".

The scandal that started two weeks ago when former players accused former football coach and convicted paedophile Barry Bennell of historical abuse has now expanded.

The Football Association announced it was launching an inquiry into the allegations and the Professional Footballers' Association said more than 20 players have come forward to seek help over the abuse. Greater Manchester Police have now joined the Metropolitan Police in investigating the claims.

"It's certainly the biggest [crisis] I can remember," said Mr Clarke. "I think the moral consequences of failing to deal with some of these issues in the past we must get to the bottom of."

He said he was "angry that society did nothing at the time" and that "we were part of that problem". However, Mr Clarke rejected criticism that  the FA had failed to act quickly after the allegations surfaced, saying that a main concern was not to interfere with the police investigation.

"We're doing as much as we can to make sure we step up to the mark and are in a position to disclose everything that happened", he said.