It has been reported that ten survivors of child sexual abuse, whilst football players at Scottish clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, have joined forces to progress a civil claim/claims against the Scottish Football Association (‘SFA’).
The claimants state that the SFA was the governing body at the time of the abuse and that they should be held to a duty of care. The claimants call for redress.
It remains to be seen whether this will constitute a class action or a string of separate claims. Nevertheless, the claim/claims could constitute a potential landmark in light of the fact that they are being pursued against a governing body rather than individual clubs.
A number of perpetrators of child sexual abuse in Scottish football during this period have already been convicted including Bill Kelly, Frank Cairney, Jim McCafferty and Jim Torbett.
The SFA set up an independent review into sexual abuse in Scottish football in 2017 following an unprecedented number of allegations of non-recent sexual abuse in the sport. An interim report was published in June 2018 which made 95 recommendations for change in the sport, including at the SFA.
In response to the interim report, the SFA issued an apology and stated that they are making progress on the implementation of recommendations contained in the interim report through the work of their enhanced Wellbeing and Protection department.
The final report from the independent review cannot be published until criminal proceedings relating to the incidents which it describes are concluded. The report’s findings and the response of the SFA to these claims remain to be seen.
Written by Lauren Donnison at BLM