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Old 24-11-2016, 12:07 AM   #3
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By Deborah Davies {snip**

Twenty-one years ago I opened a large cardboard box and uncovered a horrific story. Teenage footballers, gifted and driven by dreams of a glittering future, had endured years of the most appalling sexual abuse by their coach.

A few months later I stood for hours outside the FA's former headquarters in Lancaster Gate, waiting for their director of coaching to arrive. I asked him what rules the FA had in place for the protection of young players.

He ignored me, not even breaking stride as he walked inside. Unfortunately for him the building had a glass front door so we filmed him walking away down the corridor, with nothing to say. And that spoke volumes.

So now a few brave men in their 40s are speaking out about the abuse that's haunted them for decades. All power to their voices. I hope more come out, speaking about not just Bennell but a problem that blighted many clubs.

I don't accept we're living in different times or that society is somehow more attuned to recognising sexual abuse.

Football has always had an obligation to its young talent, for the game's own future, but even when the problem was highlighted 21 years ago they chose to look away.
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