Eight men who sued Manchester City after complaining of being abused by paedophile Barry Bennell more than 30 years ago, have lost a High Court fight to hold the club liable.
The group, now in their 40s and 50s, said Bennell, 68, abused them when they were playing schoolboy football for teams he coached in north-west England between 1979 and 1985.
They claimed that Bennell, who became a coach at Crewe Alexandra in 1985, was a scout for City at the time of the abuse, and because the relationship between Bennell and City was ‘one of employment or one akin to employment’ the club was liable for the harm they suffered.
The victims claimed damages for psychiatric injuries while six also attempted to sue for loss of football earnings.
However, Mr Justice Johnson this morning ruled in City’s favour, with the group now set to appeal.
Mr Justice Johnson said the connection between the abuse and Bennell’s relationship with City was insufficient to give rise to vicarious liability.
‘The relationship gave Bennell the opportunity to commit the abuse, but MCFC had not entrusted the welfare of the claimants to Bennell,’ the judge said.
‘It follows that it has not been shown that MCFC is legally responsible for Bennell’s acts of abuse.’
Mr Justice Johnson also ruled that the claims were brought too late to result in a fair trial.