An independent review into the abuse of children within Scottish football was announced by the Scottish Football Association (the SFA) in 2016, and an interim report was published in 2018 which reported that the safety and wellbeing of children needed to be prioritised at every level of the sport.
It is now understood that the final report, which is not expected to be published until next year, will call on clubs to accept responsibility for the abuse suffered by some children in the past. It is understood that Celtic, Rangers, Motherwell and Hibernian are among the clubs involved. It is also reported that the clubs involved will be called upon to offer genuine and sincere apologies to the survivors of the abuse. Solicitors acting for survivors are also pressing for the clubs to offer compensation, following the example set in England by Manchester City.
Four men associated with Celtic Boys Club have previously been found guilty of sexual offences against children to include Frank Cairney and former coaches Jim McCafferty and Jim Torbett. Former Motherwell youth development officer, Bob Allan, has also recently been found guilty of sexual offences against children.
The SFA has also recently published its new strategy for protecting children. ‘The Child Wellbeing and Protection Strategy’ is a five year plan to include the implementation of a system to ensure the protection of children and young people at all levels of the sport, as well the SFA taking greater accountability for safety and wellbeing.
David Milton, Partner, BLM