Former Chelsea footballer Gary Johnson claims he was paid not to go public with abuse claim

Former footballer claims he was paid not to go public with abuse claim

The scandal grows day by day

Friday, December 2, 2016

A former footballer has claimed he was paid £50,000 by Premier League club Chelsea during the 1970s to keep his sexual abuse claim quiet.

Chelsea footballer Gary Johnson, who played for Chelsea's first team between 1978 and 1981, claims he was groomed aged only 13 by the chief scout Eddie Heath, who is now dead.

The 57-year-old says the club asked him to sign a "gagging order", and is calling for "total transparency" as the police continue to probe historical child sex abuse in youth football. 

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said: ''I felt shame, I felt my childhood had been taken away. I spent my late teens in turmoil, absolute turmoil.

''I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this. Millions of fans around the world watch Chelsea. They are one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world.

"All their fans deserve to know the truth about what went on. I know they asked me to sign a gagging order and how many others are there out there?

"They may have paid others for their silence. I hope and pray no clubs are allowed to cover this up - no one should escape justice. We need total transparency now for the good of the game."

Chelsea said earlier this week they have hired an external law firm to undertake a formal investigation into one of their former employees.

A club statement said: ''Chelsea Football Club has retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased.

''The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing the FA with any relevant information arising out of the club's investigation.''

Yesterday, Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn made it clear that any club found to be ''hushing up'' sexual abuse would be punished.