Gradi vows to help in sex abuse probe

LONDON • Dario Gradi, the former manager of Crewe Alexandra who has been suspended from football amid an investigation into his links to alleged child abuse, has said that he will do everything in his power to help the authorities.

The 75-year-old, who was also the club's director of football, reiterated his denial of any wrongdoing on Monday.

The club, which he joined in 1983, has been at the centre of allegations of child abuse but it is understood that the Football Association's investigation into him relates to his time at Chelsea, where it is alleged that he "smoothed over" a complaint against a colleague in the 1970s.

He said: "Having been notified by the Football Association on 25 November, I acknowledged my current interim suspension from football...

"As I have previously stated, aside from denying any wrongdoing, it would be inappropriate and unfair on all parties to comment through the media at this time in connection with any allegations."

In a separate statement, Crewe confirmed his suspension by the FA.

Last week, a former youth player at Chelsea, where Gradi was an assistant coach, claimed he had been assaulted by the club's scout Eddie Heath in 1974.

Gradi allegedly told the victim's family that he knew Heath - who died in the 1980s - was "closer" to boys than he should have been.

The day before his suspension, Gradi issued a statement expressing sympathy for the victims of Barry Bennell, who abused players while he was at Crewe.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2016, with the headline 'Gradi vows to help in sex abuse probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe