In entirely unexpected developments since the Telegraph brought to light the settlement made three years ago between Chelsea Football Club and a former youth player over claims of sexual abuse by the club's former chief scout, Eddie Heath, Chelsea are now facing an FA inquiry over what's being called "hush money" by several media reports.
Chelsea will face heavy punishment from the FA if club paid ‘hush’ money to victim of sexual abuse in the 1970s https://t.co/ox9d0eYGnS— Standard Sport (@standardsport) November 30, 2016
The Standard's report says that there is "no timeline when Chelsea's case will be handled" or what potential punishment it might involve — or how it might be affected by Chelsea's own inquiry, launched yesterday with the hiring of an external law firm — but The FA have repeatedly stated their intent to carry through with their wider inquiry into child sexual abuse in football. Hopefully this time, they actually mean it, unlike last time, when they scrapped their own major review of their child protection schemes in 2003.
.@FA scrapped a flagship child protection project three years early, amid suggestions of bullying https://t.co/y8OSVDoPyq— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) November 30, 2016
While we still don't know all the pertinent details regarding Chelsea's settlement — when, why, who all decided that this would be the best course of action? It's doubtful we'll ever truly know... — the latest report from the Telegraph suggests that Chelsea may have broken Premier League rules in the process of making it. The settlement itself may be a valid legal move, but according to the report, it may have broken Rule S14, which obligates clubs to notify the League and the Football Association of any evidence of child abuse.
According to the Telegraph, the Premier League declined to comment on whether they were notified, the FA also declined to comment on whether they were notified, and Chelsea, as per the statement yesterday, will not comment at all until the internal inquiry is finished.