Football: Trust urges clubs to back fight for justice over abuse claims

Football: Trust urges clubs to back fight for justice over abuse claims

The Offside Trust was launched to help victims of abuse and will work separately from the English Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association.

Former professional soccer player Steve Walters

MANCHESTER: The men behind an independent body launched Monday (Dec 5) in the wake of football's abuse scandal urged the clubs involved to apologise and support the fight for justice.

The Offside Trust was launched to help victims of abuse and will work separately from the English Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association.

The trust has been created by Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Chris Unsworth, who were all the victims of historic child abuse.

Two weeks ago Woodward waived his anonymity to reveal he was the victim of sexual abuse while a youth player at Crewe in the 1980s.

Since Woodward came forward there have been 18 police forces involved in investigations concerning 450 alleged victims.

"An apology would be a start. At least we have that and can move forward," Woodward told reporters in Manchester at the launch.

"The sheer size and scale of the problem is illustrated by the fact that over 860 victims have come forward in the last few days.

"It is clear that abuse has existed on a major scale for many years. This trust will support all of those who are victims of abuse to include their families and children.

"We also hope that those who benefit from sport to include the FA, the PFA, the Premier League and other stakeholders support and donate to the trust.

"We want to fight for justice. We want reform and be able to move forward to protect children in all walks of life because we went through it. We just want to help people."

Walters revealed that neither he nor Woodward have been contacted by Crewe since they decided to come forward.

APOLOGY

"From Crewe there is nothing. They have let us suffer all of our lives. You would not believe how many there are to come out.

"The clubs have to take responsibility. To me to get an apology would make a hell of a difference.

"Surely a football club who looked after children surely it's their responsibility? A little statement, a bit of dignity. They have to take their head out of the sand. Apologise."

The Trust, which will be administered by the Manchester legal firm Prosperity Law LLP, have asked for donations from the FA, Football League and the PFA, as well as urging players and other commercial organisations and stakeholders to support victims.

Walters added: "We need more help and publicity, support from high profile sportsman. There is thousands of footballers, there are lots of people who can support us."

Source: AFP/nc

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