Ted Langford and Leicester City: The Independent Review into Childhood Sexual Abuse in Football 1970 – 2005
Following the publication of the FA report yesterday, Leicester City released a statement welcoming the recommendations in the report, expressing its deepest sympathies with survivors, and noting that it pursues all allegations of abuse to an appropriate resolution for all parties.
Whilst their words are thoughtful, the club has failed to acknowledge one key conclusion of the report, that a notorious paedophile, namely Edward “Ted” Langford was their scout for several years, during which time he was molesting young players.
Langford pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges of indecent assault and gross indecency against four footballers under the age of 14. The offences spanned between 1976 and 1990 and he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Langford died in 2012.
Despite only being convicted of abusing four young boys, we are well aware that Langford abused at least a dozen more young boys. In fact, the report acknowledges that although 692 survivors overall have come forward so far, it is likely that the number of victims of abuse in football is far greater.
Leicester City’s failure to acknowledge that a convicted paedophile worked as scout for the club for several years between 1980 and 1987, may not seem to matter much in the context of the FA report, but it matters greatly to the survivors of Langford’s abuse, whom we represent. It matters because Leicester City routinely defends sexual abuse claims by alleging that Langford was not their employee and had no connection to the club. Therefore, they say, why should they be held responsible for the abuse and provide compensation to our broken and damaged clients?
Here’s why. The report concludes:
- Although Langford was not formally employed by the club, he was paid expenses and potentially a bonus if a player that he introduced turned professional.
- “Everybody knew that Langford was working at Leicester City” – a quote from Dave Richardson, the club’s former Youth Team Manager
- In a letter on the club’s headed paper, Langford is referred to as “our Chief Midlands Representative”.
In its statement, Leicester City says that it takes all allegations of abuse, non-recent or otherwise, seriously, investigates thoroughly and pursues them to an appropriate conclusion that is satisfactory to all associated parties. What will be satisfactory to the survivors whom I represent is for Leicester City to admit that Langford was employed by them, to acknowledge each survivor’s abuse, apologise for it and to offer reasonable compensation so that they can attempt to rebuild their damages lives.
Anything else, including their statement, is just words.