The independent Inquiry commissioned by the Football Association to investigate child sex abuse in football between 1970 and 2005 has this week advised that it will delay its findings. The inquiry was due to publish its final report towards the end of this year.
This delay is due to ongoing criminal investigations which have meant that it has not been possible for all those who want to speak to the Inquiry to be able to do so. The terms of reference for the FA’s independent review stipulate that it must not compromise any ongoing investigations.
At present, former youth coach Bob Higgins is to face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on 48 counts of indecent assault on youngsters in his care, and former coach Barry Bennell is likely to face further allegations. Clive Sheldon QC, who is leading the Inquiry, hopes that the extension to the Inquiry will allow many more individuals to engage with the review. It is as yet unclear when the final Inquiry report will be published although it is looking unlikely to be within the next year.
Publication of the Dame Janet Smith review regarding Jimmy Savile similarly had to be delayed due to related criminal investigations. Such delays show the complexities and challenges of balancing police, independent and internal investigations alongside each other as well as ensuring support to victims and the wider community and responding to civil claims.
Authored by Partner, David Milton