A JURY has retired to consider the verdict of a football coach accused of assaulting 24 players over a 25-year period.
Bob Higgins, who has Portsmouth connections, ran schoolboy coaching programmes for Southampton and Peterborough United and is accused of 50 counts of indecent assault against 24 complainants between 1971 and 1996.
A trial at Winchester Crown Court has heard the 65-year-old is alleged to have groped the youngsters while giving them soapy massages after training sessions, as well as in his car and at his home.
Higgins has been described as a ‘fantastic’ coach but someone who used his ‘position of power’ to determine the future footballing careers of teenage players to take advantage of them.
From Southampton, Hampshire, he denies the offences and says the allegations are false and any touching had not been deliberate.