The board of the Scottish FA met yesterday to review the Interim Report provided by Martin Henry, the lead member of the team appointed in early 2017 to undertake the Independent Review of Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football.
We are grateful to Martin and his team for their diligence and professionalism in providing a comprehensive interim report and delivering such a detailed and important piece of work.
Above all, we are thankful to those with personal experience of sexual abuse in Scottish football who have contributed to the review. We do not underestimate the impact of sharing their experiences and we are determined to learn lessons for the benefit of children and young people playing football today.
It was incumbent on us to take the requisite time to digest the Interim Report in full and discuss the implications for and with all relevant Scottish football stakeholders, as well as providing a framework for implementation of the report’s recommendations. To that end, Martin attended yesterday’s board meeting to provide personal context to his report.
The board has sanctioned the immediate appointment of an Implementation Manager to work alongside our Child Wellbeing and Protection Manager and oversee the critical next phase. This will involve a significant outreach to all parts of the national game and external stakeholders to establish relevant jurisdiction to each recommendation and a practical timeline for recommendations to be actioned.
As well as the appointment of an Implementation Manager, the board has also approved the creation of a Safeguarding Advisory Group as recommended in the report. While the composition will be confirmed in due course, the Scottish FA can confirm that Karyn McCluskey will become a member of that group. As an Independent Director of the Scottish Professional Football League, Karyn’s presence and relevant experience will be vital in ensuring a co-ordinated approach to implementation.
It is worth noting that the Scottish FA has made a number of improvements in the past year to implement the board directive on wellbeing and protection issued in 2016. This has included the adoption of consistent policies and procedures by all members as well as the training of almost 12,000 people on child wellbeing and protection by 700 club Child Wellbeing and Protection Officers across the country.
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “On behalf of Scottish football I would like to offer my most heartfelt apology to those with personal experience of sexual abuse in our national game. We acknowledge the very deep impact experiences of sexual abuse has had on many individuals and that is why we are strongly committed to learning from these experiences.
“While I have only recently assumed the role of Chief Executive, I would like to thank my predecessors, Stewart Regan and Andrew McKinlay, for the conviction demonstrated in commissioning the independent review, and the empathy shown to survivors throughout.
“We are pleased that the report has recognised the progress that the Scottish FA and its members have made since the board issued a directive in 2016, however, we recognise there is still much to do. As the report also states, football provides a tremendous outlet for young people in Scotland and it is our responsibility to protect and cultivate that for future generations.
“As a former club chief executive, coach and player I understand the steps taken in recent years to improve the area of child wellbeing and protection. Above all, I am a father and my commitment is to ensure that the Scottish FA – with the support of its member clubs, organisations and partners – implement the necessary recommendations to ensure that Scottish football is a safe and enjoyable environment for all.”
The interim report and appendices can be viewed here and the full report will be published upon the conclusion of ongoing criminal trials.