The FSF National Council is asking supporters’ organisations to join them and get behind a petition calling for an independent inquiry into child sex abuse in football.
Survivors of abuse in football launched the petition just over a week ago, and already over twenty FSF affiliates and supporter organisations have signed up. FSF affiliates at Aylesbury and Reading have been joined on the list by fan-owned City of Liverpool FC, as well as Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur supporter groups.
Recent revelations about abuse in football have shocked fans across the country.
BBC News reports that more than 1,000 cases relating to child sexual abuse within football clubs in the UK have been reported to police. Updated figures released by the National Police Chiefs' Council also show that 184 potential suspects have been identified. The 526 potential victims ranged in age from four to 20. There are 248 clubs impacted by investigations.
The FSF recognises the courage of the survivors who have come forward. With fears that the scandal could extend to a wide range of clubs we believe that support for the survivors of abuse must be prioritised. The FSF has commended the FA for the action taken so far and the PFA for setting up a helpline for members and former members.
The FSF now wants to see action taken to support all survivors that come forward with an extension of support beyond the professional game.
As supporters, we want assurances that our children are properly protected when we encourage them to become involved in the game we love. The FSF endorses the call that all those found guilty of abuse are brought to justice. We also want to see action taken against anyone who may have covered up for abusers and proper reporting of any incidents.
The FA has improved its safeguarding procedures in recent years but there is no room for complacency, good procedures do not always equal good practice. Resources and vigilance are equally important elements. As The FA have said themselves ‘safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone involved in the game’.
The FA’s prompt action in setting up an inquiry is welcomed but we share survivors’ concerns that the inquiry as currently constituted will be too limited as it has no power to demand that witnesses give evidence.
Survivors want to ensure that The FA inquiry is kept separate from the government-led Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) but any inquiry into football needs to be properly resourced with an investigative team
We ask all supporters to add their name to the online petition and seek the support of others including their supporters’ group.