Ex-Saints employee named in BBC report on football abuse allegations

A FORMER Hampshire youth football coach has been named as part of an investigation into historic sexual abuse, it was reported.

Monday, 5th December 2016, 11:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:31 pm

The BBC reported that Bob Higgins, a former employee of Southampton FC, had been named by six former Saints players as part of the ongoing investigation.

Mr Higgins, who was cleared of sexual abuse charges in 1992, had been working as a coach for Fleet Town FC but the broadcaster said he had not been police checked.

The BBC said that a statement made to it by the club confirmed that Mr Higgins was not police checked in 2012 because his role did not involve working with children.

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Club chairman Steve Cantle added that Mr Higgins was no longer involved with the club and had worked on an ‘informal unpaid basis’.

According to the BBC a letter was sent out to schools and youth groups in 1997 by Hampshire Constabulary, warning them that Mr Higgins posed ‘a risk to children.’

He could not be contacted for comment.

The Daily Mail reported that the warning also read: ‘The above name has come to the attention of our departments and Hampshire Constabulary as a football coach in the area.

‘We would strongly urge you to contact us if approached by him in either recruiting young players or in using your facilities.’

Hampshire Police is currently carrying out an investigation into historic child sexual abuse in football.

But the force refused to confirm whether or not it had received calls about Higgins.

Under Football Association policy any coach aged 16 years or over who works in an unsupervised role with children must complete Enhanced CRC (Criminal Record Checks).

And checks of this nature would have flagged up Mr Higgins’ previous charges in 1992.

Southampton FC officials have previously said they will work with police during the investigation into abuse allegations..