More than 150 witnesses were interviewed as part of the Review which has, at all times, been conducted with a ‘Survivor First’ approach as an unshakeable guiding principle.
The Club also instigated an audit led by LimeCulture – a national organisation specialising in Safeguarding and response to Sexual Violence- of its current and future safeguarding procedures and protocols. This audit was undertaken notwithstanding the fact that Manchester City has been compliant with, and operating at, the required levels of safeguarding standards since their introduction across English football in the early 2000s.
A summary of, and Club response to, the LimeCulture Report is available on www.mancity.com/mulcahy-report and the Club has been implementing the recommendations to build on its already high standards of safeguarding practice.
The Mulcahy Report – also available on www.mancity.com/mulcahy-report - details that serious allegations of child sexual abuse were established in respect of three identifiable individuals with historic connections to Manchester City – Barry Bennell, John Broome and Bill Toner. Their offences spanned the 1960s through to the early 1990s, though they were not connected to or associated with each other.
Further, the Report sets out the grievous nature of the offences committed, and the fact that they continued - unchallenged - over a significant period of time. In the case of Barry Bennell and John Broome, these were multiple offences against many aspiring young footballers. Additionally, and regrettably, the Report points to the ‘wholly inadequate response’ of the Club and its failure at that time to investigate fully or involve the police.
In March 2019, the information identified by the Review Team led to the Club launching the “Manchester City FC Survivors’ Scheme” to offer compensation, paid counselling and personal apologies- face to face where preferred- to eligible survivors as an alternative to often lengthy, costly and arduous litigation processes. The apologies continue to be made directly to those Survivors by a senior Board Director and the scheme remains open for applications until 31 August 2021.
Importantly, in addition to the personal apologies that have been made, the Club’s Board of Directors wishes to apologise publicly and unreservedly for the unimaginable suffering experienced by those who were abused as a result of the Club’s association with these men. The Club also extends its heartfelt regret and sympathy to the multiple family members and friends affected by these traumatic events, the ramifications of which are felt by so many to the present day and will continue to be felt for a long time to come.
No one can remove the suffering of those who have experienced sexual abuse as children as a result of their involvement with football. They were all entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they endured.
The Club has been determined to play a key role in ensuring that such harmful acts are not repeated, not just at Manchester City, but wherever football is played. In addition to the LimeCulture audit of current Safeguarding practices, the Club has cooperated fully with Cheshire Police, Greater Manchester Police and The FA Review, working together to ensure that information and learnings are shared. Most notably, a set of identified risk factors in football which can allow abuse to develop and potentially proliferate, were laid out in the report and have also been shared with the FA Review and Safeguarding teams.
The Club wishes to thank Jane Mulcahy QC, the Review Team and LimeCulture for their diligence and commitment. Those thanks are extended to the expert partners – Intersol, Survivors Manchester, RASA Merseyside and RASASC Cheshire- all of whom have provided invaluable advice and support throughout.
Most importantly, Manchester City and the Board of Directors wish to conclude this statement with a focus on those that are at the heart of this matter – the survivors. The Club extends its heartfelt gratitude to all those who spoke to the Review, and who shared deeply personal and challenging information in doing so. The intense and sensitive nature of the subject matter, which in many cases has been buried for many years, is not underestimated, nor is the critical importance to survivors of being believed. The contribution made by these survivors is central to everything that has been learned during the past five years.
More widely, the Club expresses its sincerest admiration for every survivor – those that have spoken freely, those who spoke anonymously and those who are yet to disclose and indeed may choose never to do so. Their bravery and strength must never be forgotten and always be acknowledged.
The Board of Directors of Manchester City FC
- Anyone wishing to contact the Club directly, in relation to the Review, Scheme or any safeguarding matter can do so by contacting [email protected] or 0161 438 7804. All such approaches will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.
- Survivors, whether they have previously disclosed their experience or not, can also seek confidential support and advice from NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood) on 0808 801 0331 and via their website napac.org.uk/. NAPAC produce multiple resources to help Survivors at whatever stage of their journey: napac.org.uk/resources.
- The PFA provides a 24/7/365 counselling telephone helpline for its members. This 'round-the-clock' support is available to all members past and present and for any concerned friends and family. They can be reached by [email protected] or on the 24hr Counselling Helpline: 0800 368 8389.
- Anyone who has a concern about the welfare of a child or the behaviour of an adult towards a child in football can also contact The FA on [email protected]