I can't say if there has been a cover-up in the game, says Glenn Martin

Updated: Dec 04, 2016, 14:58 IST | PA Sport

As growing number of victims report child sexual abuse, FA chief executive Glenn Martin insists there's no cover-up in football's latest filthy scandal

FA chief executive Martin Glenn
FA chief executive Martin Glenn

London: Football Association boss Martin Glenn believes it is unlikely there was an organised attempt to "cover up" sexual abuse in the game but has promised to punish any club found guilty of doing so "regardless of size".

When asked about reports that some clubs may have paid off alleged victims in return for their silence on the matter, FA Chief Glenn said this would be investigated by both the police and the FA's independent review.

Sitting alongside newly-appointed England manager Gareth Southgate, Glenn said: "We've committed to a full review, shining the light on what happened in the past in football. We have clear rules in the game and if there's any evidence of a breach of those - and hushing up would be one — subject to due process, the police need to be at the right place in this, when it's our turn to apply the rules we absolutely will, regardless of size of club."

When pressed on the possible existence of non-disclosure agreements and gagging orders, Glenn said: "I can't say if there has been a cover-up in the game (but) I doubt it."

Glenn's comments come a day after the Daily Telegraph reported an allegation that Chelsea made a confidential payment to a former youth team player who accused the club's ex-chief scout, Eddie Heath, of sexually abusing him. The player is reported to have made the allegation, which relates to possible offences in the 1970s, in the last three years. Heath died before the allegation was made.

On Tuesday, the club issued a statement to say it has "retained" an external law firm to carry out an investigation into an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now dead. It added that it would fully co-operate with the FA's wider investigation but would make no further comment while those inquiries were ongoing. Around 350 victims have come forward to report child sexual abuse within football clubs, the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.

The number comes from information supplied by forces across the UK to Operation Hydrant, set up in 2014 to oversee investigations into historical child sex abuse concerning prominent people, and referrals from the NSPCC helpline.

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