The Scottish Football Association have been sued after a number of people accused the SFA of abusing them when they were children. These people claimed that they were abused by coaches or referees. A report into child protection within football which was published last claimed that the methods in Scotland were “not fit for purpose.” However, Ian Maxwell, the chief executive of the Scottish FA said that Scottish football was safe for children.
Janine Rennie of the Surviviors Charity of Wellbeing said, “The beginning of civil legal proceedings against the Scottish Football Association by survivors is their absolute right and is an important part of them claiming some measure of justice they have long been denied. Restitution of this kind is a small part of the journey for these brave people. They were disbelieved and ignored by the authorities for years but they are taking back control and now the SFA have admitted their terrible failings I hope they will deal with this matter with decency and transparency.”
The legal action against the Scottish FA is being taken through Thompsons Solicitors. Former Rangers player Jon Cleland is among the people who are taking action against the SFA. Cleland said, “The SFA is responsible for making sure that those coaching our children are people we can trust. Yet they completely failed me and my family. I now wait to see if their words admitting their failings are backed up by action. I sincerely hope that other survivors abused in Scottish football now feel able to come forward to have their voices heard.”
Another victim of abuse Peter Haynes claims that he was abused by SFA official and coach Hugh Stevenson. Haynes said, “SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell has told the country he believes his organisation’s child protection policies are a success. I have asked him to clarify his statement. He has not as yet agreed to this. The hurt his statement caused to myself, my family and other survivors is beyond measure. It is in total contradiction to that of his predecessor, Stewart Regan. Mr Maxwell’s words echoed the same lack of understanding as Jim Farry in 1994 when I first informed the SFA about Hugh Stevenson.
How on earth can they say they haven’t failed children in the past? Mr Maxwell says the SFA wants a world class child safety policy. That should begin with taking care of those it has already failed miserably.”
A spokesman of the Scottish FA has said, “The review group said football was safe but said that it could be safer, and we completely accept that. We commissioned the review because we wanted to make football better, and we knew that there were things that had to be improved. “We have increased training for more than 12,000 people working (with children) in football and we are making sure that all our members have their processes in order.”