'Ted Bates statue will stay' say Southampton Football Club

The statue has been in place since 2008 Credit: PA

Southampton Football Club has confirmed the statue of legendary boss Ted Bates will remain outside St Mary's Stadium.

There had been calls for it to be removed following football’s child sex abuse scandal.

Former manager Bates was named in the FA’s independent report and accused of ignoring complaints about youth coach Bob Higgins.

Ted Bates played for the club before managing the team between 1955 and 1977 Credit: PA
Touching the statue's foot has become a good luck ritual for many at St Mary's Credit: PA

Higgins was jailed for 24 years in 2019 after being found guilty of 45 charges of indecent assault.

The club has been in discussion with victims of the predatory paedophile, and taking down the statue was one of the ideas put forward.

But Saints have now released a statement saying that following careful consideration, they had decided not to remove it.

Saints statement in full:

"We can confirm that we will not be removing the statue of Ted Bates.

"There are a number of different reasons for this decision, which has been considered very carefully over quite a considerable period of time."Firstly, we have not been able to verify the statement made by a teacher in relation to Ted Bates and so evidentially cannot be certain of the status or reliability of that statement.

"This is not to say that we do not believe the statement or question it.

"However, it would not be responsible for us to base a decision that would have a very significant impact for a lot of people on a single piece of evidence that was collected a long time after the relevant conversation may have taken place and that we have not been able to verify.

"Additionally, we have worked with a range of different groups, including survivors to build a view of how the statue and Ted Bates is viewed by that group.

Ted Bates with the team in 1972 Credit: PA

"To date, there is no majority view that the club should remove the statue of Ted Bates. This issue was brought to us for consideration and we have engaged widely on it since then.

"We are not inclined to make gestures of this nature and feel that in this case the statue should stand to remind everyone of the journey that happened over the course of Ted Bates’ time at Southampton.

"This includes his loyalty and achievements as a player and manager as well as the fact that he was a member of the board during the period when systemic sexual abuse took place at the club should be remembered.

"It is very important to highlight that Ted Bates was not involved in any abuse directly.

"If nothing else, this should be used to highlight the important ongoing role that our management team have in keeping people safe today.

"What we do not want to do is take action that is unpopular with the vast majority of relevant stakeholders and that significantly risks the perception and reaction of others to the group of men who were abused when they were young players at Southampton."