Shocking Court Documents Claim Chelsea Coaches ‘Punched And Kicked Young Black Players’ In The 1990s
Coaches of Chelsea’s youth football team have been accused of assaulting young Black players in the 1990s in documents obtained from the High Court.
Accusations have been made by 10 players who have launched civil claims against Chelsea as the employers of Graham Rix, who previously worked as Chelsea’s youth-team coach, and Gwyn Williams, the former director of youth development, with four of the accusers set to take part in a five-week trial beginning March 7, 2022.
Both Rix and Williams are understood to have denied assaulting any player, though the court documents allege Black members of the team were punched and kicked, among other assaults.
One player claims he was punched by Rix on a number of occasions, as well as being subject to repeated assaults from Williams.
The documents, obtained by The Athletic, detail a culture of ‘racist bullying’, with Rix alleged to have punched a youth-team player between the legs during a four-year ordeal which left the victim, who is now in his forties, with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rix is also said to have hit the same player in the head more than once and left him with minor burns after pouring a cup of scalding coffee over his head, as well as causing a nose bleed after hurling a football from almost point-blank range at a player.
Williams has reportedly acknowledged his previous use of racial language, but has submitted evidence to the court to say it was not intended maliciously and continues to deny the allegations of assault.
Chelsea has denied vicarious liability, though the club has previously accepted elsewhere that there was a racist culture within the club at that time.
In its defence, the club has argued it had no reason not to employ Rix or Williams as there were no complaints at the time. Chelsea’s legal team will reportedly also argue it was not reasonable to have expected proper safeguarding measures to be in place in the 1990s and as a result, it will be impossible to have a fair trial more than 20 years on.
In Chelsea’s legal papers, barrister Nicholas Fewtrell wrote: ‘There is no adequate explanation for this delay on the part of the claimant.’
When it goes to trial next year, the case will feature a line-up of 62 witnesses and potentially some of the biggest names who played or worked for Chelsea in the relevant era.
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