Chelsea accused of paying off youth player to cover up sexual abuse by scout
Yet another sexual abuse incident has emerged in English football this month.
The Telegraph have disclosed that Chelsea sanctioned a secret payment to a former youth team footballer, who accused the club's ex-chief scout, Eddie Heath, of child sexual abuse. The alleged victim, who isn't named, was reportedly paid off after he threatened the club that he would go public with the claims. Heath was Chelsea's chief scout for more than a decade.
The payment is said to have been made in the past three years, with the condition of banning the family and his relatives from going public. The confidentiality agreement is so stringent that the parties involved cannot even acknowledge it.
Chelsea released a statement on Tuesday night. “Chelsea Football Club has retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased. The club has also contacted The FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing The FA with any relevant information arising out of the club’s investigation. While the club's investigation is ongoing, we will make no further comment on this matter,” said the statement on the club’s website.
A source told The Telegraph that the case was never publicised: “He [the alleged victim] thought there were more [victims] but it was never publicised and the case settled. These were very serious offences.”
Eddie Heath, who died before the allegations against him were made, was instrumental in finding several Chelsea players, including club legend Ray Wilkins. The former Aston Villa assistant manager is astonished by the accusations and said, “I knew Eddie very well. It makes no sense whatsoever to me. Eddie was a great guy,” said Wilkins.
“Eddie Heath was fantastic as far as I am concerned. I have never heard anything like this [about Eddie],” added the former Chelsea and Manchester United player.
The Telegraph have said that they are not aware of any evidence corroborating the claim made against Eddie Heath, but rumours of revelations by the club's former youth players regarding the ex-scout's apparent behaviour have been doing the rounds of the football world.
English football in recent weeks has been hit by a number of serious sexual abuse allegations, which have rocked the football community. More recently, former players like Andy Woodward and Paul Stewart have come out with allegations of being sexually abused.
The Football Associaton have begun their own inquiry, while Manchester City have also begun their own investigations to find out any connections with historical abuse allegations.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has written to 40 national bodies and urged them to assess whether any historical claims of abuse need investigation. Football Association chairman Greg Clarke said the scandal was one of the biggest crises in the history of the organisation.
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