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Exclusive: Crewe Alexandra admit responsibility and makes first pay-out to former player abused by coach Barry Bennell

The club has previously said it is not responsible for Barry Bennell's actions. Credit: PA

Crewe Alexandra have, for the first time, admitted responsibility for some of the abuse carried out by paedophile coach Barry Bennell.

More than a year after he was jailed, the club has paid compensation, thought to be in the high tens of thousands of pounds, to one of its former youth players.

But the settlement has not come with an apology.

Barry Bennell is serving 31 years behind bars. Credit: PA

The successful claim, signed off on Monday, should open the doors to a flurry of similar deals in the weeks and months ahead.

In what is a breakthrough agreement the club, which had been fighting claims on the basis there is no “reasonable reason” why players have taken so long to come forward, even accepted that the abuse Bennell carried out abroad on the boy he had initially met and coached at Crewe was its responsibility.

In addition, the settlement reflected the chances of the aspiring young footballer’s potential career in the game.

Speaking anonymously to ITV News the player, now in his 40s, said of his settlement: “It’s good news but it hasn’t sunk in yet. And there’s still no apology, but what do we expect?”

While the majority of the abuse took place in this country, the former coach headed up many youth tours abroad.

The former player, who had dreams of becoming a professional footballer, was abused in the UK and also overseas when Bennell persuaded him to spend a few weeks with a youth team in America.

He was also one of the men who stood on the witness stand and gave evidence against Bennell during his trial.

Bennell, described by the judge as an “industrial-scale child molester” is now serving a 30 years prison sentence.

“I hope this now paves the way for all the other lads to get what they deserve," the victim said.

His solicitor, Dino Nocivelli believes it should “ The club should have done the right thing and admitted responsibility when we first contacted them rather than trying to drag out proceedings.”

He went on: “I am hopeful that the conclusion of this case will lead to the club dealing with other survivors in a quicker and fairer manner.

"For far too long the club’s priority has been itself but this case hopefully shows a change of tact in how they deal with survivors.

"It is just a pity that we have had to force them to change their views rather than the club openly and willingly accepting its failings.”

Crewe is facing a number of other, similar civil claims as is Manchester City for whom Bennell also worked.

City recently launched a compensation scheme worth millions of pounds as an alternative to going through a lengthy court process.

The club claims youth players who were abused by 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.

Youth players who were abused by the club’s former coach Barry Bennell could receive upwards of £100,000 each. Credit: PA

Manchester City’s offer is open to more than 30 known survivors initially, but the club believes that number will rise.

Unlike the first Crewe settlement though, it’s believed the City scheme will not take into account the potential careers many of the boys turned their back on after their experiences with Bennell.

A source close to the club told ITV News that 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.

A spokesperson for Crewe Alexandra said: "The Club does not consider it appropriate to comment on individual cases that are being dealt with by its insurers, except to reiterate that it sincerely regrets the abuse committed by Barry Bennell and expresses its deepest sympathies to the victims and survivors."