I would like to take this opportunity to praise all those who have come forward to report sexual abuse suffered whilst taking part in youth football. This is an incredibly brave thing to do and not only does it ensure that we can punish those responsible for these despicable crimes, but it also means that we can take steps to protect children in the future.
It has been particularly worrying to hear reports of famous clubs paying large sums of money to victims in order to cover up these crimes. The FA’s investigation must be thorough at all levels of football and it must ensure that from the largest Premier League club to the smallest local youth team, every club recognises its responsibility to protect its players.
Football is a key part of our national identity; it (and indeed every sport) must be a safe environment for our children.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East