Chelsea apologise for historical child sexual abuse and racism
Chelsea have apologised for the “terrible past experiences of some of its former players” after external reviews into allegations of historical child sexual abuse and racism at the club.
The “exhaustive” investigation spanning two-and-a-half years found evidence of sex abuse by coach Eddie Heath, who worked at the club in the 1970s, and racist bullying towards young players in the 1980s and 1990s.
In a statement published alongside the findings, the Chelsea board said the club would “fully support those affected” and was committed to ensuring that “abhorrent abuse like this can never happen again”.
Following claims of child sexual abuse carried out at the west London outfit in the 1970s, lawyer Charles Geekie QC was tasked with leading an external review team that carried out more than 100 witness interviews and looked over thousands of pages of additional evidence.
His inquiry included a specific examination of the allegations made against Heath, who died in the early 1980s, who was found to be a “dangerous and prolific child abuser” whose conduct was “beyond reprehensible”.
The abuse he carried out was said to have gone on “unchallenged” and had a “life-changing impact” on those affected, with the club now having compensation claims from survivors assessed.
Chelsea said it would release the findings of the review in full, adding: “Although the club today is a very different place from the club then, with new ownership, operational structures and safeguarding procedures in place, we will not shy away from responsibility for what happened in the past.