Sport Soccer

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Gradi suspended pending investigation

Crewe Alexandra director of football Dario Gradi. Photo: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Crewe Alexandra director of football Dario Gradi. Photo: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images newsdesk

Crewe director of football Dario Gradi has been suspended by the English FA pending an investigation.

The development comes after the launch of an FA review into allegations of historical child abuse within football.

Gradi, 75, denies any wrongdoing and says he will help the FA's review.

It is understood the FA investigation will include looking into claims that Gradi "smoothed over" a complaint of sexual assault against Chelsea scout Eddie Heath.

Last week a former youth player at Chelsea, where Gradi was assistant coach, claimed he was assaulted by Heath in 1974.

Gradi joined Crewe in 1983 and was manager there until 2011. He later became the League Two club's director of football.

In a statement before his suspension, Gradi - who has made no specific comments on this development or his links with Heath - said: "Suffice to say, I will do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities."

Crewe chairman John Bowler declined to comment on Gradi's suspension, but he told The Guardian: "I will have a chat with my staff about looking to put something out in the morning."

The development comes after police revealed dozens of potential suspects have been identified in connection with historical child sex abuse allegations in football.

According to figures released by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), 98 clubs spanning all tiers of the game have been "impacted".

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and local police forces have referred more than 600 reports to Operation Hydrant, the co-ordination hub for non-recent child abuse allegations.

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