Football sex abuse scandal: Scottish survivors join forces in bid to sue SFA in potential landmark case

A group of former youth footballers who were sexually abused as children are looking to sue the Scottish FA in what would be a landmark legal case, talkSPORT can reveal.

The ten, which includes war veteran Malcolm Rodger, claim the SFA were responsible for their care when paedophile coaches attacked them during the 1970s and 1980s.

GettyImages 693338198 - Football sex abuse scandal: Scottish survivors join forces in bid to sue SFA in potential landmark case
The SFA could be sued by a former group of youth footballers who were sexually abused as children
Getty Images

Since football’s abuse scandal broke in 2016, a number of predators have been jailed and civil claims lodged against clubs.

However, legal action against a governing body would be a new and unprecendented move.

Communication seen by talkSPORT suggests the SFA will fight any claim brought against it.

In response to the allegations, a Scottish FA spokesperson said: “The Scottish FA has the utmost respect for survivors who have come forward.

“Whilst we cannot at this stage comment on individual cases, we reiterate our offer of support to anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in Scottish football.

“The Chief Executive has issued a heartfelt apology on behalf of Scottish football to those with personal experience of sexual abuse in our national game.”

Rodger, who has previously gone on record saying he was assaulted by ex-coach Barry Bennell, told talkSPORT: “To be left stranded and the SFA hiding behind their insurance companies and litigators is needless.”

Fans of Celtic and Rangers are being urged to come together to support the group in their attempt to raise funds for representation.

Bill Kelly was jailed in 1987 for abusing 12 boys including Rodger over a 22-year period, serving 12 months in prison.

It is claimed Kelly was working for the Scottish FA in West Lothian when he targeted players at prominent youth side Uphall Saints.

“The SFA was the governing body,” Michelle Gray, whose late brother Andrew was abused by Celtic Boys Club coach Jim Torbett, remarked.

“They should have had a duty of care to these children from grassroots football through to if, or when, they signed professional.”

Survivors hope winning a civil case against the Scottish FA would set a precedent, allowing others to bring action and achieve the closure they seek.


Back in 2016 Hampden chiefs commissioned an independent inquiry into historical child abuse within Scottish football.

Its interim report found child protection policies were ‘not fit for purpose’. The final report is due to be published imminently.

“We are making progress on the implementation of recommendations contained in the interim report through the work of our enhanced Wellbeing and Protection department,” the SFA added.

Bill Storrie, who was abused as a child playing for Uphall Saints, believes the SFA’s independent inquiry will not unearth the true scale of the crimes and has called for the Scottish Parliament to launch a public inquiry.

“There’s a public inquiry into abuse within care homes, which is bad enough in itself,” he said. “But why ignore football?”

Rodger’s fundraising campaign for legal action has so far raised more than £5,500 of its £20,000 target.

“We are talking about children that were sexually abused. It doesn’t matter what colour football top you wear. Let’s get behind this,” Gray added.

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