Firstly, and most importantly, following today’s events at Liverpool Crown Court, Manchester City FC offers its heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences they have endured.
No one can remove their suffering or that of others who suffered sexual abuse as children as a result of their involvement with football.
All victims were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they endured.
In November 2016, Manchester City Football Club initiated a comprehensive QC led review to:
1. Understand whether, and if so how, it was used by Barry Bennell to facilitate alleged sexual abuse of children
2. Discover all indications – if any - and associated evidence as to any use of the Club by any other individual at any point from 1965 to the present day to facilitate alleged sexual abuse of children.
3. Review the Club’s current and future safeguarding procedures and protocols against global best practice benchmarks notwithstanding the fact that the Club has been compliant with and operating at the required levels of safeguarding standards since their introduction across English football in the early 2000s
The Review Team has engaged closely and transparently with police investigators and the football authorities throughout the past 15 months. A considerable volume of work has taken place and support workers have been made available for all potentially vulnerable individuals that have been spoken to.
Manchester City FC is extremely grateful to all those who have participated in the review so far.
Whilst Manchester City FC is restricted as to what it can make public at present, the Club can confirm that to date, the Review Team has identified serious allegations of child sex abuse in respect of two identifiable individuals with potential historic connections to Manchester City. One of these individuals is Barry Bennell.
The second identified individual – John Broome - is deceased and is not believed to be linked to Bennell. Investigations into Mr Broome and his alleged offences continue.
In addition to these individuals, the team continues to exhaustively examine a number of reports of historic anomalous behaviours, no matter the level of gravity and strength of potential connection to Manchester City, over a period spanning more than 50 years.
The Club is, at present, unable to name or give specific detail surrounding any such reports due to ongoing legal investigation but again, remains in regular dialogue with the FA Review Team and the Police.
The Club remains fully focused on completing its review to the highest standard possible.
It is expected that further information which will assist in the completion of the Review will become available as related legal proceedings conclude, after which a more comprehensive public position can and will be set out.
Manchester City and the Review Team remain keen to speak to any survivor of, or witness to sexual abuse which might in any way be connected to Manchester City or which could support the ongoing enquiry. Anyone wishing to contact the Club with such information can do so by contacting [email protected].
All such approaches will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.