Police Urged to Investigate Historic Sexual Abuse at Stoke City FC

Kate Hall
Kate Hall
Senior Paralegal, Abuse

George Blackstock and seven other former apprentice players are asking for a new investigation to take place into their allegations of abuse at Stoke City FC.

Speaking to the Times, George Blackstock said he had “suffered deeply” and still continues to suffer every day as a result of the abuse he experienced and the way in which it was handled.

As Abuse Solicitors, we know the devastating effects that suffering abuse as a child can have on people later in life. If you’ve experienced abuse in childhood, we could help you access support and compensation. Get in touch for a free no-obligation chat.

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What has Been the Police Response?

Staffordshire Police have confirmed that they are now looking into allegations of historical abuse at Stoke City after receiving fresh complaints this year. However, they have not yet confirmed if a previous case lodged by George Blackstock will be reopened.

Staffordshire Police have also stated that “investigations of this nature remain under scrutiny and if new information becomes available it is to be examined in the context of the overall case.”

“We find it shocking that there has been yet another case in the news about abuse in football. We have experience of helping people who have experienced abuse within a football club and we understand how devastating the effects can be. We’re glad that the police are now investigating this matter and we hope it gives more people the confidence to come forward.”

- Kate Hall, Senior Paralegal, Abuse

How Does Abuse Happen in Sports Clubs?

When parents send their children to a sports club, they trust that they will be looked after. Unfortunately, we know that in somecases, this trust is abused by people in positions of power.

At Stoke City football club, George Blackstock and other apprentice players have alleged that they were put in positions where they could be abused by numerous adult footballers, not just the goalkeeper Peter Fox.

Sadly, we’ve seen multiple cases where people who were abused as a child felt unable to speak out at the time because of the intimidation they experienced. This can be made even worse when there is more than one person inflicting the abuse or allowing it to take place.

In recent years, we’ve seen more media coverage that has shone a light on horrific abuse carried out in some of the country’s most prominent football clubs. In 2018, the conviction of youth football coach Barry Bennell was widely publicised and shortly afterwards, Manchester City launched an independent inquiry which uncovered further abuse that had taken place within the club.  

Manchester City has since launched a redress scheme for former players to provide a “speedier, cheaper and more predictable means of compensation”. We hope other football clubs like Stoke City will implement similar redress schemes to make the process more accessible.

Taking legal action after suffering abuse as a child can be extremely difficult and the idea of talking about your past experiences may feel daunting. We understand this, and if you decide to instruct us, we’ll handle your case with sensitivity and empathy.

When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen. We’ll work hard to get you the best outcome for your case as well as helping you to access support networks in your area. Get in touch with our expert Child Abuse Law team for initial advice.

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