Friday, November 25, 2016

‘The dam has been busted’: Former English soccer players expose sexual abuse by youth team coaches

A sign for the sports academy of the English soccer team Crewe Alexandra
LONDON — Former English soccer players who were subjected to years of sexual abuse by youth team coaches entrusted with their care are breaking cover to expose the game’s dark secrets.

Harrowing stories of assaults on young players by men they relied on to turn them into professionals are forcing authorities and clubs to finally address how child abusers were able to exploit their positions of power and why the behaviour wasn’t confronted earlier.

The abuses were first uncovered two decades ago with the conviction of English coach Barry Bennell in the United States and his homeland. Bennell worked in academies across northwest England including Manchester City, Stoke and Crewe Alexandra, which was renowned as a centre for turning raw talent into the complete footballer.

The torment suffered by players is only now receiving more widespread attention along with a determination to discover how far reaching sexual exploitation of youngsters has been in English soccer.  (more...)

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