English Premiership

Chelsea cleared by EPL for not reporting abuse claims

2016-12-23 09:07
Cesc Fabregas.(Getty Images)

London - The present Chelsea regime did not break any rules in keeping quiet about allegations of sex abuse suffered by former youth player Gary Johnson, the English Premier League said.

"After careful consideration, the board has determined that no Premier League rules were broken by the club not reporting this matter to them in 2014," the Premier League said in a statement Thursday.

The Premier League said it has insisted that Chelsea, whose present owner Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich took over years after the abuse, have an independent expert carry out a full safeguarding audit.

"The League has no reason to have any concerns about Chelsea's current provisions in this area, but, given the seriousness of these historical allegations, feels that such a review is an appropriate course of action," it added.

Chelsea additionally has to provide the Premier League with details of the club's internal review on historic abuse, launched after Johnson and several other former players came forward to claim they had been abused by scout Eddie Heath back in the 1970's.

The Premier League said Chelsea has agreed to the requests.

The club and Abramovich have been lambasted for imposing a gagging order as a condition of paying Johnson 50,000 ($63,850, 59,230 euros) compensation in 2015 for the abuse he suffered at the hands of Heath.

Johnson, now 57, broke the gagging order once other former footballers had come forward to claim they had been victims of sex abuse decades ago and he told the BBC he would be seeking greater compensation from Chelsea as the abuse had "taken away his childhood".

There has been some speculation that Chelsea could face a group action law suit that could potentially cost them millions.

'Phoning from the moon'

Heath, who died in 1983 aged 54, was sacked by Chelsea in 1979 by then manager Geoff Hurst, not for sexual impropriety but because he spent more time decorating his office than scouting.

He moved on to another London club, Charlton Athletic, where a former youth player alleges he was abused by him.

It is not known whether Chelsea are one of the four London-based Premier League teams under police investigation over historic abuse. Twenty-six other clubs from the capital are also involved.

However, former detective Clive Driscoll said Friday that Chelsea and another current Premier League club, Crystal Palace, had dismissed his warning in 2001 about another scout.

John Butcher had been convicted in 1993 of attempting to smuggle child abuse images into England from the Netherlands.

"I spoke to Millwall, Chelsea and Palace about Butcher and warned them about him in 2001," Driscoll told The Times.

"I was a detective inspector at the time and I was phoning them from the police, but I might as well have been phoning from the moon.

"I was saying he had a conviction but they just treated it as a football matter," said Driscoll, who during his career successfully brought the white killers of black teenager Stephen Lawrence to trial after years of frustration over the initial investigation.

According to the information gathered by Operation Hydrant, the UK-wide police investigation into non-recent child sexual abuse, 148 clubs are now involved, with 155 potential suspects and 429 victims, aged between four and 20.

Read more on:    epl  |  chelsea  |  fa  |  english premiership  |  roman abramovich  |  london  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 19 August 2017
Swansea City v Manchester United, Liberty Stadium 13:30
Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Anfield 16:00
Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion, King Power Stadium 16:00
Southampton v West Ham United, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion, Turf Moor 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Watford, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Stoke City v Arsenal, Bet365 Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 20 August 2017
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United, The John Smith's Stadium 14:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Monday, 21 August 2017
Manchester City v Everton, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The Proteas are currently on tour in England, involved in a four-Test series with their hosts. How will they fare? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.