Manchester City Football Club has announced the launch of a ‘survivor’s scheme’ to compensate victims of non-recent abuse. The scheme, which will incorporate both compensation and a formal apology, is the first of its kind to be set up by one of the football clubs implicated in football’s sex abuse scandal.
The scheme is for survivors of abuse by Barry Bennell, the former youth coach, who is currently serving a 30 year prison sentence, and with a further criminal trial potentially still to follow. The scheme also incorporates the victims of John Broome, a former talent spotter and coach connected with Manchester City, against whom allegations of assault have also been made. Broome died in 2010.
The purpose of the redress scheme (which has taken two years to put together) is to allow survivors ‘to avoid the cost, time, emotional distress and complexity of a trial with an alternative dispute resolution process’, the purpose being to ‘provide a speedier, cheaper and more predictable means of compensation than lengthy, expensive formal court litigation’.
The process is that applicants will be asked to provide a statement of truth as well as evidence that they played for the club and any other corroborative evidence – the approach will be ‘inquisitorial rather than adversarial’. In cases that are relatively more serious, a report from an independent consultant psychiatrist will be required, with the club meeting the cost of this.
The compensation tariff will be based on a two tier system, taking into consideration the range of offences, the length of the abuse and the effects on the victims. The tariff levels are based on the amounts that would be likely to be received if the matter proceeded to Court, though it is understood that they may in fact be slightly higher. Manchester City will also contribute to the applicants’ legal costs. At the end of the process it is hoped that the survivors will be willing to meet with the club individually to hear about the work that has gone on behind the scenes and to receive a formal apology. It is hoped that relatively straightforward applications could be dealt with in as little as seven weeks.
In the meantime, Manchester City’s independent inquiry, led by Jane Mulcahy QC, is ongoing.
Written by David Milton, partner