Chelsea "apologises profusely" to former player for sexual abuse and admits confidentiality clause was "inappropriate"

Joe Hall
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Chelsea child sex abuse allegations
Chelsea: Club today is very different than it was in the 1970s (Source: Getty)

Chelsea have "apologised profusely" to abuse victim Gary Johnson and have admitted that the confidentiality clause inserted in their settlement with the former player was "inappropriate".

The Premier League club asked for a confidentiality clause to be included in its £50,000 compensation package with Johnson after being approached by a law firm working on his behalf in the summer of 2014.

Chelsea's board said Johnson, who says he was groomed and sexually assaulted by former scout Eddie Heath from the age of 13, had "suffered unacceptably" while at the club.

Read more: FA chief Martin Glenn promises clubs guilty of covering up child abuse will be punished "regardless of size"

Two other players have since come forward this week to allege they were abused by Heath.

Earlier this week Chelsea hired an external law firm to carry out an investigation into historical sexual abuse claims at the club and have specifically asked it to review the way it handled Johnson's case, although they maintain the inclusion of a confidentiality clause was standard practise in the industry and accepted by both parties.

"We have asked the external law firm to review what was done and to make recommendations about best practice for settling claims of this nature in future," read a club statement. "

In advance of that, however, the Board would like to make clear that, in light of what we know now about the widescale abuse in football clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, it now believes that the use of such a clause while understandable was inappropriate in this instance. We certainly have no desire to hide any historic abuse we uncover from view. Quite the opposite."

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