QPR vow to help police with investigation into historic child sex abuse claims in football
PUBLISHED: 13:09 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:48 08 December 2016
The FA are set to widen their probe into the scandal rocking the sport as QPR become the latest club to investigate allegations
Queens Park Rangers have insisted they will co-operate fully with a police investigation after being dragged into the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the game.
Several complaints have been made regarding the behaviour of former chief scout Chris Gieler who left Loftus Road after 30 years’ service in 2003.
QPR did not mark his long service or his death when he passed away a year later.
Reports yesterday stated that a former QPR youth player is among those who have raised issues about Gieler’s behaviour going back to the 1970s.
Today police have announced a special investigation has been launched into the allegations which also involve around 55 amateur and profession football clubs including Carlton Athletic, Manchester City, Southampton and Chelsea.
A dedicated team of officers will work with partners and Operation Hydrant, the national co-ordination hub for historic child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ivan Balhatchet of the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “We take all the allegations we receive very seriously and they will be dealt with sensitively. Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, whatever the circumstances, or has any relevant information should contact their local police or the NSPCC.”
In a statement, the club said: “QPR Football Club has been made aware of the historical allegations made against former club employee Chris Gieler relating to child abuse in football.
“The club takes these allegations very seriously and will cooperate fully in any forthcoming investigation.
“Any form of abuse has no place in football or society.
“QPR has robust recruitment procedures and safeguarding policies in place to ensure the protection and welfare of both children and vulnerable adults, and we employ a full-time designated safeguarding manager who works across all areas of the club with specific responsibility to the Academy and Community Trust.
“In line with FA, Premier League and Football League guidelines, we have had someone responsible for safeguarding in place since 2011.
“As a club, we work closely with the police, local authorities and safeguarding agencies and comply with all best practice and legislation to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable people who come into contact with the club.
“Employees at the club also receive specific training on all safeguarding issues on a periodic basis.
“Safeguarding covers everything from sideline abuse; swearing and bullying; to serious sexual abuse.
“As part of our safeguarding children strategy, the club - in line with legislation and government guidance - requires those working in roles with children and young people to pass a criminal records check and to supply references and background checks.
“This is standard practice.”
The FA has commissioned a dedicated NSPCC helpline for adults who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood within the football industry.
The helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
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