Manchester City Football Club has launched a compensation scheme worth millions of pounds for survivors of historic sex abuse as an alternative to going through a lengthy court process.
Youth players who were abused by the club’s former coach Barry Bennell could receive upwards of £100,000 each, depending on the extent of the abuse they suffered. It is intended that survivors will also, eventually, get a full apology from the club.
Bennell is now serving a 31-year prison sentence and faces the prospect of another trial next year.
Manchester City’s offer is open to more than 30 known survivors initially, but they believe that number will rise.
They are already dealing with several civil actions but have concluded the scheme might be a preferable option as it’s designed to be relatively quick and will remove many of the costs and distress associated with going through formal court proceedings.
The compensation scheme will be open too, to victims of John Broome who, although not a salaried member of staff, was involved at the club from the mid-1960s to the early ‘70s.
The scheme, which is unprecedented in football, is very similar to the one set up in the aftermath of the jailed breast surgeon Ian Paterson, who was convicted of mutilating and wounding 750 of his patients.
However, unlike most compensation payments there will be no condition of silence; a so called "gagging order".
City say they are perfectly happy for survivors to speak about their experiences if they choose to.
A source close to the mechanics of the scheme says survivors will not be prevented from claiming from the club’s compensation pot, even if they start off along the civil route and then change their minds.
The arrangement comes about as City’s internal investigation into historic sex abuse, which has so far cost them in excess of £2 million, nears its conclusion.
Despite the fact all the offences took place in a different era, under a different ownership, the current hierarchy believes it has a responsibility to do all it can to help right the wrongs committed behind the club’s badge.
Manchester City would not elaborate on what ITV News’ had learnt this morning, except to confirm in a short statement that the redress scheme was in place and reiterating its “heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences that they endured".