Publication - FOI/EIR release

Sexual abuse in Scottish football: FOI release

Published: 30 Jul 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
30 Jul 2019
Sexual abuse in Scottish football: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01618
Date received: 1 Jul 2019
Date responded: 29 Jul 2019
Information requested

1.  When will the Scottish government be launching an inquiry into the sexual abuse that took place at Celtic Boys Club?
1.1 When will there also be an inquiry into the allegations of a decade's long cover-up of the abuse by the company that owns the football ground where some of the abuse took place?
1.2 Has the Scottish government made any attempts to provide the United States Department of Justice and also the State of New Jersey Attorney General with assistance regarding the alleged abuse that was carried out on a trip to Kearney, New Jersey by Mr Frank Cairney in 1991?

2.  If no inquiry is to take place, could you please confirm:
2.1 The reasons behind this decision, as there are no live criminal trials in relation to this matter?
2.1.1 If the government are going to cite civil cases, could you please give examples of case law where an inquiry has been precluded or delayed due to such reasons?
2.2 Could you confirm what legal advice has been sought to advise that a group of paedophiles ( who have been convicted in Scottish courts ) operating within the same company over a number of decades does not fall within the remit of the Justice Department?
2.3 What legal advice was sought in relation to the holding of an inquiry and when?
2.4 What questions were asked to obtain the legal advice?
2.5 Dates and times of the meetings and who was present?
2.6 In what way does a refusal to hold an inquiry into the biggest sexual abuse scandal in recent Scottish history help with the protection of young people in Scotland?
2.7 If there is to be no inquiry are the Scottish government happy to keep the nation in the dark regarding how a group of this size could operate for so long and abuse so many children and young adults.
2.8 By refusing to hold an inquiry, are the Scottish government happy to allow the abused and their families to continue to suffer without having the answers they deserve?

3  in 1995, a list of 14 active paedophiles was presented to Strathclyde Police.  However, of those names only 2 were convicted:
3.1 What discussions have taken place with Police Scotland regarding the 14 names that were handed to them?
3.1.1 as only 2 people were convicted based on the evidence presented.  Is the Justice Minister happy that a full investigation took place and if so, can he confirm on what basis?
3.2 What was the outcomes of the discussions with Police Scotland?
3.2.1 When and where did these discussions take place and was the Procurator Fiscal involved?
3.3 When will an inquiry be launched into the handling of the information presented to Strathclyde Police and will this inquiry be managed by a police force from elsewhere in the UK?
3.3.1 Will an investigation also be launched into the Procurator Fiscals handling of the evidence?
3.4 What legal advice has been sought in relation to the previous investigations by Strathclyde Police?
3.4.1 Will Police Scotland be ordered to reassess the evidence previously provided to them?
3.5 Who was the advice sought from and when?
3.6 If no inquiry is to take place who ultimately made that decision?
3.7 Is it acceptable that the Scottish government will not seek to reopen the original investigations?

4 Have meetings taken place between the Scottish government and the Scottish Football Association as well as the Scottish Professional Football League regarding points 1 and 1.1?
4.1 When did those meetings take place and who was involved?
4.2 How much money has the Scottish government given to both the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Professional Football League since the Scottish government was formed in May 1999?
4.2.1 How much of that money has been for child and young person protection?
4.3 Since the Scottish government was created in May 1999, how many acts of abuse took place at Celtic Boys Club 
4.4 Since the most recent convictions of those associated with Celtic Boys Club, what investigations have the Scottish government carried out in relation to what both the Scottish Football associations and Scottish Professional Football League knew about and did to ensure that no further abuse took place at Celtic Boys Club?

Response

1. When will the Scottish government be launching an inquiry into the sexual abuse that took place at Celtic Boys Club?
1.1 When will there also be an inquiry into the allegations of a decade's long cover-up of the abuse by the company that owns the football ground where some of the abuse took place?
1.2 Has the Scottish government made any attempts to provide the United States Department of Justice and also the State of New Jersey Attorney General with assistance regarding the alleged abuse that was carried out on a trip to Kearney, New Jersey by Mr Frank Cairney in 1991?

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

2. If no inquiry is to take place, could you please confirm:
2.1 The reasons behind this decision, as there are no live criminal trials in relation to this matter?
2.1.1 If the government are going to cite civil cases, could you please give examples of case law where an inquiry has been precluded or delayed due to such reasons?
2.2 Could you confirm what legal advice has been sought to advise that a group of paedophiles ( who have been convicted in Scottish courts ) operating within the same company over a number of decades does not fall within the remit of the Justice Department?
2.3 What legal advice was sought in relation to the holding of an inquiry and when?
2.4 What questions were asked to obtain the legal advice?
2.5 Dates and times of the meetings and who was present?

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

2.6 In what way does a refusal to hold an inquiry into the biggest sexual abuse scandal in recent Scottish history help with the protection of young people in Scotland?
2.7 If there is to be no inquiry are the Scottish government happy to keep the nation in the dark regarding how a group of this size could operate for so long and abuse so many children and young adults.
2.8 By refusing to hold an inquiry, are the Scottish government happy to allow the abused and their families to continue to suffer without having the answers they deserve?

The Scottish Government unreservedly condemns the abhorrent crime of sexual abuse.

Experiences of sexual abuse in Scottish football will have a profound and long-lasting impact on those who were abused. Ensuring children can enjoy taking part in sport in a safe and secure environment – as well as giving parents confidence about the safety and wellbeing of their children – is a priority for the Scottish Government.

You may be aware that the Scottish FA announced the terms of reference for an independent review of non-recent sexual abuse allegations in Scottish football on 2 February 2017. The interim report was published on 26 July 2018, allowing the Scottish FA to address some or the recommendations before the final report is published when current on-going legal cases are concluded.

The Scottish Government will consider next steps when the final report is published.

3 in 1995, a list of 14 active paedophiles was presented to Strathclyde Police. However, of those names only 2 were convicted:
3.1 What discussions have taken place with Police Scotland regarding the 14 names that were handed to them?

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3.1.1 as only 2 people were convicted based on the evidence presented. Is the Justice Minister happy that a full investigation took place and if so, can he confirm on what basis?

This is not a valid request under FOISA. FOISA enshrines a right to recorded information that a public authority holds, subject to certain exemptions – not opinion.

3.2 What was the outcomes of the discussions with Police Scotland?
3.2.1 When and where did these discussions take place and was the Procurator Fiscal involved?
3.3 When will an inquiry be launched into the handling of the information presented to Strathclyde Police and will this inquiry be managed by a police force from elsewhere in the UK?
3.3.1 Will an investigation also be launched into the Procurator Fiscals handling of the evidence?

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.


3.4 What legal advice has been sought in relation to the previous investigations by Strathclyde Police?
3.4.1 Will Police Scotland be ordered to reassess the evidence previously provided to them?
3.5 Who was the advice sought from and when?
3.6 If no inquiry is to take place who ultimately made that decision?

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3.7 Is it acceptable that the Scottish government will not seek to reopen the original investigations?

This is not a valid request under FOISA. FOISA enshrines a right to recorded information that a public authority holds, subject to certain exemptions – not opinion.

4 Have meetings taken place between the Scottish government and the Scottish Football Association as well as the Scottish Professional Football League regarding points 1 and 1.1
4.1 When did those meetings take place and who was involved?

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

4.2 How much money has the Scottish government given to both the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Professional Football League since the Scottish government was formed in May 1999?

The Scottish Government does not fund SPFL clubs – or players – or the professional game.

The Scottish FA Development Department receives public funding and is focused on strengthening participation in football, delivering wider Scottish Government outcomes.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because your request is so broad and requires commissioning of information from a large number of key policy areas and our central finance teams within the Scottish Government.

Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example you may wish to focus on funding given for specific projects such as sectarianism/offensive behaviour or perhaps narrow the timeframe.

4.2.1 How much of that money has been for child and young person protection?

However, you may be interested to know that in 2017, the Scottish Government announced £2m of supplementary funding for Scottish Governing Bodies (SGBs) of Sport. sportscotland invested this funding in SGBs to deliver specific outcomes, including further enhancing child protection measures. This supported SGBs to adapt existing arrangements in response to the new Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport.

The new Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport were launched in December 2017 by sportscotland, in partnership with Children 1st. The Standards take a child centred approach to the wellbeing and protection of children in sports. All SGBs receiving sportscotland investment have now migrated to the new Standards.

sportscotland also provides child wellbeing and protection training and support to SGBs, clubs and coaches through the ‘Safeguarding in Sport Service’, administered by Children 1st. The Service provides:

  • Advice and resources to help organisations develop ways to keep children safe including templates and good practice documents related to recruitment, selection and codes of conduct.
  • Training to provide awareness of child protection and more detailed training for Club Child Protection Officers, officials and staff.
  • Support to SGBs and local authorities to adopt the Standards.
  • Network groups from across the sports sector to share good practice and provide updates on legislation changes.

4.3 Since the Scottish government was created in May 1999, how many acts of abuse took place at Celtic Boys Club
4.4 Since the most recent convictions of those associated with Celtic Boys Club, what investigations have the Scottish government carried out in relation to what both the Scottish Football associations and Scottish Professional Football League knew about and did to ensure that no further abuse took place at Celtic Boys Club?

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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