Crewe Alexandra Football Club would like to express its deepest sympathies to the victims of Barry Bennell.
The Club would like to reassure all those who have been affected by this case that the Club has worked closely with the police throughout and provided full cooperation, transparency and assistance with their enquiries. The Club will continue to provide that cooperation as and when required.
Since November 2016 the Club has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to locating historic information and documentation about Mr Bennell, both in connection with the preparation of its own internal review and the provision of information and documentation to the relevant authorities. This documentation includes voluminous files relating to an unsuccessful compensation claim brought by Andy Woodward against the Club in 2002 in which the Court found no evidence that the Club had knowledge of any abuse committed by Mr Bennell.
The Club would therefore like to reiterate that it was not aware of any sexual abuse by Mr Bennell, nor did it receive any complaint about sexual abuse by him, either before or during his employment with the Club. Mr Bennell was employed by the Club for two periods between January 1985 and January 1992. On both occasions, he left for football-related reasons. The first the Club became aware of any offences committed by Mr Bennell was when he was arrested in the United States in 1994. The Club co-operated fully with the police investigation in relation to the prosecution of Mr Bennell in 1997/98. The Club also cooperated fully in the production of the Dispatches programme that was broadcast around that time.
Further, the police have recently undertaken a thorough investigation to determine what knowledge Crewe Alexandra may have had of Mr Bennell’s offending whilst he was employed as a coach, which involved interviewing a significant number of individuals, including a former director of the Club, Hamilton Smith. As a result of their investigations, the police found no evidence to corroborate that the Club was aware of Mr Bennell’s offending.
The Club wishes to make it absolutely clear that had it had any suspicion or belief that Mr Bennell was committing acts of abuse, either before, during or after he left the club’s employment, the Club would have informed the police immediately.
The thoughts of everyone at the Club go to the victims and their families at this difficult time.
Note to Editors – the club will not be offering interviews or further comments on the statement at this stage.