UK

Former Crewe coach Paul McCann suspended by FA

The Alexandra Stadium Image copyright Getty Images

A former Crewe Alexandra coach has denied wrongdoing after being suspended by the FA's safeguarding panel.

Paul McCann worked with young players at the club in the 1980s and 90s. From 2014-15, he volunteered as a youth coach at non-league club AFC Bebington, in the Merseyside area.

The BBC understands that Mr McCann has said he will co-operate with any investigation.

The FA has not confirmed the interim suspension or given any reason for it.

'Club stalwart'

Mr McCann was a coach at Crewe Alexandra working with then-manager Dario Gradi, who is now the club's director.

He was placed in charge of the club's reserve and youth team. As a voluntary position, he was not paid for the work.

He is described in a history of Crewe Alexandra as a "long-standing club stalwart" and "one of the key men behind reserve and youth team football at Crewe".

In the same book, Dario Gradi is quoted as saying Mr McCann was a "super guy".

In December 2016, Mr Gradi was suspended pending a Football Association investigation that will include looking into claims he "smoothed over" a complaint of sexual assault against a Chelsea scout in the 1970s. He denies any wrongdoing.

Coaching licence

Mr McCann left the club at the end of 1991. He moved abroad with his main job, which was not connected to football - first to the Netherlands and then Australia, before returning to the UK.

Mr McCann has since taken his Uefa A coaching licence, which allows him to coach professional teams.

In 2014 he was listed as the assistant youth team manager of AFC Bebington, a local side in the Merseyside area. He stopped coaching at the club when it was disbanded in 2015.

Following the FA's suspension, thought to have been introduced in December 2016, he is not allowed to work in the sport in any capacity until he receives further notice.

Mr McCann has previously told ITV: "I have not done anything wrong. This process is in place to help the investigation take its due course. I am collateral damage."

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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