Replacement QC to lead abuse review

LONDON • The Football Association has announced that its review into child sexual abuse in football will be led by Clive Sheldon QC instead of Kate Gallafent QC "in the light of the increased scope of the review".

The FA initially appointed Gallafent to oversee an internal review into allegations of sex abuse by former players but conceded at the time "a wide-ranging inquiry may be required in time".

That time appears to have come sooner than expected, with the scale of the issue growing by the day, and Gallafent has been replaced "with respect to her other professional commitments".

The FA notes Sheldon's past work includes several investigative reviews including matters of child protection and safeguarding.

The news came as the organisation outlined the full terms of reference for its review, which has been launched with no firm deadline - a result of the passage of time since the alleged abuse.

"The review will commence immediately," an FA statement said.

"The findings of the review will be reported to the FA board. It is accepted that no final date can be agreed at this stage given the passage of time and the time it will take to recall files for review and to locate all those relevant people to interview who no longer work for the FA."

The Guardian reported that Dario Gradi, the director of football at Crewe Alexandra, is to be quizzed by a team of investigators from the FA after claims that he visited the parents of a Chelsea youth-team player to "smooth over" a complaint of sexual assault against Eddie Heath - the chief scout who has been identified as a repeat offender in the 1970s.

Gradi, then in his early 30s, was assistant manager at Chelsea at the time and is said to have told the victim's family that he knew Heath was "closer" to boys than he should have been.

Chelsea never took any action against Heath and the FA wants to interview Gradi about what the club knew, what they did about it and whether there was a cover-up.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'Replacement QC to lead abuse review'. Print Edition | Subscribe