Manchester City have apologised “publicly and unreservedly” for what has been described as the club’s “wholly inadequate” response to historic allegations of abuse levelled at three individuals formerly associated with them.
The Mulcahy report, commissioned by the club on 2016 and published on Wednesday to coincide with the release of the Sheldon review into cases of abuse in football, was strongly critical of the club’s failure to act at the time.
City were one of eight clubs whose conduct was investigated as part of the Sheldon review, and one of three, along with Chelsea and Southampton, to commission their own independent reviews.
The Mulcahy report identified Barry Bennell and John Broome as two individuals whose multiple offences at the club were allowed to continue unchallenged for a “significant” period of time, while a third individual, Bill Toner, was also implicated.
City said: “In addition to the personal apologies that have been made, the club’s board of directors wishes to apologise publicly and unreservedly for the unimaginable suffering experienced by those who were abused as a result of the club’s association with these men.
“The club also extends its heartfelt regret and sympathy to the multiple family members and friends affected by these traumatic events, the ramifications of which are felt by so many to the present day and will continue to be felt for a long time to come.
“No one can remove the suffering of those who have experienced sexual abuse as children as a result of their involvement with football.
“They were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they endured.”
The Sheldon review also found that Chelsea could have done more to respond to an allegation of abuse against former youth team coach Eddie Heath, who remained with the club for four years after an initial allegation was levelled in 1975.
Chelsea apologised for the “terrible past experiences” of some former players following the findings of their independently-commissioned Geekie Report in 2019.
The review found that senior officials at Crewe and Stoke were likely to have been aware of concerns over Bennell during the time he spent at those clubs, and could have taken further steps to monitor his activities.
Crewe declined to issue a statement.
Stoke stressed their full cooperation and added: “We will review the findings of the report carefully and fully consider all recommendations and learnings from it against our current policies, procedures and training programmes to ensure that Stoke City is operating according to best practice.”
Southampton pre-empted the publication of the review by issuing an open letter to supporters on Tuesday night saying they were “deeply sorry” by all those affected by the abusive behaviour of former coach Bob Higgins.
Southampton have independently commissioned the Barnardo’s review, which is ongoing.
Higgins was jailed for 24 years in 2019 for abuse at both Southampton and Peterborough.
The League One club said they “acknowledged the findings” in the report and were “extremely sorry” to individuals affected.
Accepting the report’s findings that the club could have acted more quickly, Newcastle expressed their “sincere apologies” and commended the “bravery” of all those affected by abuse perpetrated by George Ormond at Monty’s youth club in the city.
The report said Aston Villa should have reported disclosures about sexual abuse by former scout Ted Langford when his role was terminated in 1989. Villa were approached for a comment.
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