QPR coach Chris Gieler 'kept on after 1980s investigation'

QPR stadium Image copyright Getty Images

Queens Park Rangers continued to employ youth officer Chris Gieler after carrying out an internal investigation into his behaviour in the 1980s, the Victoria Derbyshire show has learned.

Four youth players were questioned by senior management in the investigation, though the outcome is unknown.

Last week, one man said he had been sexually assaulted at the age of 15 by Mr Gieler.

QPR said it took allegations against Mr Gieler "very seriously".

The club has previously said it would "co-operate fully in any forthcoming investigation".

Mr Gieler, QPR's ex-chief scout, died in 2002, shortly after he left the club.

He had arrived at Loftus Road in 1971 as a schoolboy scout and in 1979 became youth development manager, responsible for the entire youth programme.

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Last week, an anonymous man told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Gieler in the 1980s, when he was 15.

Former players have described what they saw as Mr Gieler's "inappropriate behaviour" while at the club.

"He would feel boys' legs to make sure they were developing properly and chat to boys while they were in the shower after a game," said one former player who didn't want to be named.

"You would feel very uncomfortable about it."

A number of sources claimed Gieler would often spend large amounts of money on his favourite youth team players, known as "Gieler's boys". This included hundreds of pounds on sports equipment, clothes and holidays.

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In 1987, then-QPR chairman Jim Gregory sold the club for £5.8m to a group led by property developer David Bulstrode.

Shortly after, an internal investigation was carried out into Mr Gieler's behaviour and actions.

Four youth players were individually questioned by senior members of management at the club before Mr Bulstrode's death in September 1988.

The outcome of the investigation is not known. It has not been established that the club found any evidence of abuse.

Mr Gieler was allowed to continue to work with young boys until he left the club, shortly before his death in 2002.

Image caption In 1979, Chris Gieler became QPR's youth development manager, responsible for the club's entire youth programme

One former player told the Victoria Derbyshire programme that Mr Gieler's behaviour had not changed after the investigation and he would still transport boys in his car to and from games without any other adults present.

He said that even if the club didn't find any evidence of abuse, it should have monitored Chris Gieler more closely to stop him behaving inappropriately towards young boys.

"For me the club were complicit after that point and didn't act on it," the player claimed.

"They should have put a safeguarding policy in place."

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Queens Park Rangers said last week that it took the allegations of abuse by Mr Gieler very seriously and would cooperate fully in any investigation.

"Any form of abuse has no place in football or society," the club said.

"We continue to cooperate fully with the police and the Football Association, and so as not to hinder the investigation, it would not be appropriate for the club to comment further on the matter at this time."

The club said it now required those working in roles with children and young people to pass a criminal records check and to supply references and background checks.

More than 20 UK police forces have confirmed they are investigating claims of historical child abuse in football.

Last week, police chiefs said there were 83 potential suspects and 98 clubs involved.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said 98% of the identified victims were male and that they were aged between seven and 20 when they were allegedly abused.

A dedicated sexual abuse helpline has been set up by the NSPCC, supported by the FA.

The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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