Dario Gradi has apologised for “not recognising signs of abuse” carried out at Crewe Alexandra by the former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell.
Bennell, who was working at the club in the 1980s and 90s is serving a 34-year sentence after being convicted of child sexual abuse five times. He was described by the sentencing judge as “the devil incarnate”.
Gradi was criticised in the recent Sheldon report over his handling of a complaint about the youth coach Eddie Heath during his time at Chelsea, and for failing to act on rumours and concerns expressed about Bennell at Crewe.
“I wish to express my deepest sympathy for the survivors and their families,” Gradi said. “I sincerely and personally regret that the harm being caused to these young people was not discovered at the time. I apologise for not recognising any signs of abuse at the time.”
On Wednesday the independent review found that the 79-year-old – who was Crewe’s manager from 1983 a 2007 and again from 2009 a 2011 – “should have done more” to investigate concerns about Bennell but said he was not involved in a cover-up. La reseña, which was led by Clive Sheldon QC and commissioned by the Football Association, focused on the abuse of children within the game between 1970 y 2005.
Gradi’s statement added: “I am of course satisfied with the findings of the review in which it is acknowledged by Clive Sheldon QC that I did not act improperly towards children at any time and that I was unaware of the unlawful activities of Barry Bennell."
El jueves, Crewe apologised to all the survivors of Bennell’s abuse and said “more could have been done to monitor” him.
The FA’s chief executive Mark Bullingham said this week that the former Crewe coach remained suspended, and that he did not see that changing. sin embargo, Gradi said in a statement that his suspension relates only to working with under-18s.
“I am disappointed by the Football Association’s public declaration that I am currently banned from football and ‘effectively banned from football for life’,” the statement read. “This has since been reiterated in the media in which the FA chief executive states that I am banned from all football-related activity. I would like to make it clear that this is not the case.
“I am suspended indefinitely from certain specified activities with players under the age of 18 years and whilst I do not agree with it I understand how the decision was arrived at.”