Former Pompey boss Harry Redknapp has said the Football Association could have done more to investigate a former coach named in a BBC report about historic sexual abuse allegations in football.
He said he was ‘amazed’ that ex-Southampton coach Bob Higgins was still working in football after concerns were raised about his behaviour in the 1980s.
Mr Higgins has always denied abusing young players and was acquitted of sexual abuse charges in 1992.
Mr Redknapp told the BBC: ‘Until you can actually prove something, or there is a bit of evidence, it’s very difficult, but I certainly think the FA could have certainly done a bit more to monitor him and make sure he wasn’t allowed back into football.’
He was talking after the BBC reported a letter was sent out to schools and youth groups in 1997 by police and social services, warning them that ‘Mr Higgins poses a risk to children.’
Yesterday it was reported that Mr Higgins had been working as a coach for Fleet Town until about three weeks ago.
The BBC said that the club had not carried out criminal record checks on him, which the club said was because he was not working directly with young players.
Mr Redknapp, a former Southampton manager, said: ‘Southampton’s a great football club, and it’s run by fantastic people there now.
‘They had a great manager, Lawrie McMenemy. If Lawrie had suspected anything I’m sure Lawrie would have well and truly booted him out.
‘But until you can actually prove something or there’s a bit of evidence, it’s very difficult.’
Mr McMenemy managed Southampton between 1973 and 1985.
Hampshire Constabulary have refused to confirm if they have received any calls regarding Mr Higgins, but are carrying out an investigation into historical sexual abuse claims.
Mr Higgins could not be contacted for comment.