Sex Abuse Victims Lose Case Against Reigning English Premier League Champions Manchester City
14:45 GMT 10.01.2022 (Updated: 10:12 GMT 30.11.2022)
© AFP 2022 / ANTHONY DEVLINAbuse victims of former football coach Barry Bennell (L-R) Steve Walters, Micky Fallon and Chris Unsworth speak outside Liverpool Crown Court on February 19, 2018 after the sentencing of former football coach Barry Bennell who was found guilty of sexual abuse
A sexual abuse scandal involving children at football clubs in the United Kingdom (UK) unravelled in November 2016 when ex-Crewe player Andy Woodward disclosed that he was abused by former Man City scout, Barry Bennell. Subsequently, more footballers came out in the open, accusing Bennell of sexually abusing them when they were young kids.
Five-time English champions Manchester City have won a court battle against eight men who sued the Premier League club. They accused paedophile, Barry Bennell of abusing them more than three decades ago.
The high court judge, who ruled in favour of City, categorically rejected the men's claim that the club was responsible for the abuse.
According to the claimants, Bennell, sexually abused them between 1979 and 1985 when he was employed as a scout for City.
The victims, all currently aged above 40, were seeking damages from City for its association with Bennell, aged 68, who has been convicted on similar charges in the United States and Britain.
The men had argued in court that City's relationship with Bennell was "one of employment or one akin to employment" and that's why the liability of their abuse rested on the club's shoulders.
Delivering his verdict against the men, Justice Johnson said that City's relationship with Bennell wasn't a strong ground to make the club liable for the abuse he committed.
"The connection between the abuse and Bennell’s relationship with MCFC [Manchester City football club] is insufficient to give rise to vicarious liability," Justice Johnson said.
"The relationship gave Bennell the opportunity to commit the abuse, but MCFC had not entrusted the welfare of the claimants to Bennell. It follows that it has not been shown that MCFC is legally responsible for Bennell's acts of abuse," he added.
The lawyer of the alleged victims, David McClenaghan, however, wasn't happy with the outcome of the case and promised to make an appeal against the judgement. He revealed that the men were in "shock" after the court's decision.
Meanwhile, a City spokeswoman declined to comment on the outcome before reiterating the club's apology to the survivors of the alleged abuse.
She said that the club has "both personally and publicly apologised without reservation for the unimaginable suffering that each survivor experienced as the result of abuse they suffered."
"The club reiterates this apology today to the survivors and to the multiple family members and friends affected by the traumatic events," she concluded.