Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Bob Higgins victims to sue Southampton and Peterborough United

Bob Higgins Image copyright Solent News & Photo Agency
Image caption Bob Higgins was convicted of dozens of counts of indecent assault

Former trainee footballers abused by paedophile Bob Higgins are to seek compensation from the clubs concerned.

The football coach was found guilty of indecently assaulting 24 boys, most of whom were youth players at Southampton and Peterborough United.

A solicitor representing some of the 66-year-old's victims said the clubs had a duty of care and should "accept responsibility".

Peterborough United said it dealt with all allegations "appropriately".

Southampton declined to comment on the compensation bid but said it had worked closely with police to uncover the truth.

Image caption Young players would train in the gym at The Dell in Southampton

Higgins was convicted at his retrial on Thursday of 45 counts of indecent assault between 1971 and 1996. He was found guilty of another count last year.

Dino Nocivelli, who is representing some of the victims, said parents trusted the clubs with their children.

"Even after the convictions yesterday we're still waiting for an actual apology," he said.

"We are still waiting for answers as to what they knew about this man."

Image caption Dino Nocivelli confirmed former trainees would sue Southampton and Peterborough

Mr Nocivelli said he hoped the clubs would "do the right thing".

"There is no need to put these men through further litigation and a potential civil trial - the ball is in [the clubs'] court."

He said he hoped the clubs would follow the example of Crewe Alexandra. The club agreed a financial settlement with a victim of former coach Barry Bennell - a paedophile jailed for 31 years for abusing young footballers.

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Media captionBob Higgins "did not speak a single word" during 15 hours of interviews, police said

Bournemouth Crown Court heard Higgins groped and sexually touched boys during soapy massages, and in his car and at his home.

A statement from Peterborough United said: "We are greatly saddened that anyone in our care in the past has been subjected to any form of abuse, but do wish to stress that everything reported to the football club was dealt with in the correct and appropriate manner and in full compliance with the club's obligations."

Southampton previously offered "sympathy and support to any player who suffered any kind of abuse or harm while under our care".

Higgins is due to be sentenced at a later date.

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