This is a hard one to write about. However, it’s important that we speak up. Today the SFA finally released their independent review into sexual abuse in Scottish football. This is after an inordinate amount of delay as the review was commissioned by the SFA in 2016.
Parts of the report was explosive. However, the sad reality is that many of the perpetrators of this abuse are now dead. Still, it is important that we, as a society, hold them accountable.
The clubs which were named in the report are Celtic Boys Club, Celtic, Falkirk, Forres Mechanics, Hamilton, Hibernian, Hutchison Vale, Motherwell, Rangers and Partick Thistle. The SFA called upon all these clubs to apologise as ‘it is the right thing to do’. I expect (as I am sure every decent fan does too) every club to follow suit, no matter the repercussions in a civil suit.
The SFA also laid down a bunch of recommendations to ensure things like this never happens again. However, this must be acted upon and not swept under the rug as an inconvenience.
The SFA report also demolished the separate entity argument put forward by Celtic. Here is the relevant part from the SFA report: ”The Review is of the view that, if the relationship and history between the youth football club and the senior club was so shared, so close, and so inextricable then when sexual abuse of young players formed part of the history of one then it too formed part of the history of the other.
”A shared heritage is not confined to trophies, victories and celebration; it also extends to defeats, failures, and deficiencies.”
A lot lot more is required, but this is hopefully the start of moving towards more transparency, where victims are not treated as pawns.
This review was led by Martin Henry. The main focus was on abuse of children in football in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. This report detailed sexual abuses on children, some of them as young as six.