Scotland

Scottish FA's child sex abuse review to start in February

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An independent review into child sex abuse in Scottish football is likely to begin next month, according to the Scottish Football Association.

The Scottish FA said it expected a chairperson to be appointed in February and work would being "immediately".

It added that it had already held meetings with survivors to "shape and influence" the terms of reference.

The review was set up after several former players revealed they were abused by people in authority.

Police Scotland revealed last month that it was investigating more than 100 reports of child sex abuse in football.

In a statement, the SFA said its discussions with abuse survivors were an "open forum to hear their perspectives, provide support and to help shape and influence an appropriate terms of reference for the association's independent review."

Child wellbeing and protection manager, Donna Martin, who convened the meetings, said survivors wanted the review to examine all football in Scotland, without limit of time.

'All football in Scotland'

She said: "The ongoing dialogue we have had with survivors has contributed significantly to defining the terms of reference for the independent review.

"We received a wide range of feedback from the survivors, including the timeframe for completion of the review, that there should be no limit to the period of time the review examines, and that it should encompass all football in Scotland.

"It is vitally important to the Scottish FA that all parties are satisfied with the content before the review proceeds."

A first draft of the terms of reference will be presented to survivors at their next meeting later this month, before they are presented to the SFA board in February.

A delegation from the SFA has met regularly with Police Scotland and third-sector organisations with expertise in supporting survivors of abuse.

It said any survivors coming forward would receive a professional-needs assessment from a clinical psychologist, who would then refer the victim to the appropriate level of support.

During December, allegations were made against coaches who were formerly involved with clubs including Motherwell, Partick Thistle and Rangers, involving incidents which happened between the 1970s and the early 1990s.

A BBC Scotland investigation revealed that former youth coach and referee Hugh Stevenson was allowed to carry on working in football for several years after being reported to police and the SFA over child sex offences.

And Jim McCafferty, a former youth coach who was the kit man for Celtic, Hibernian and Falkirk was arrested in Belfast after allegations were made against him.

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