Football

Ex-coach Bennell charged with child abuse

Former coach Barry Bennell, who is at the centre of a scandal rocking English football, was on Tuesday charged with eight counts of child abuse, prosecutors said.

Bennell, who has already served three jail terms for previous child sex offences, has faced a slew of new allegations by at least 20 former footballers spanning three decades beginning in the 1970s when he was working for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

"Following a review of the evidence... Mr Bennell, 62, has today been charged with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy under the age of 14," said a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of England and Wales.

Bennell, who it was revealed on Monday had to be hospitalised when he was found unconscious in a hotel near London, will appear in court on Dec 14.

The latest charges stem from the Cheshire Police but six other police forces are investigating accusations made against Bennell in a scandal Football Association Chairman Greg Clarke has called "the greatest crisis" in English football he could recall.

Former Newcastle player Derek Bell, who waived his anonymity to the Guardian, claimed he was subjected to "horrendous" sexual abuse at his local boys football club in the 1970s.

HEARTACHE

He said: "It was pure, unbelievable heartache.

"Thinking my mum and dad were next door and he was performing these sexual acts.

"He had groomed us for a couple of years and he thought it was normal.

"Deep down in my mind, I knew it wasn't normal.

"But I was so scared to speak and come out and say it wasn't right."

Meanwhile, the British Government announced on Tuesday that they will bring the police and the FA together for a meeting on the developing scandal. - AFP.

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